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Blumenthal urges courts to stay out of reproductive healthcare decisions

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nancy Stanwood
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nancy Stanwood

The abortion drug mifepristone is still available — for now.

A 5th Circuit judge in Texas sought to block the national distribution of the abortion drug two weeks ago.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision allows the FDA-approved drug to be administered until the appeal from the 5th Circuit Court in Texas is decided.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited Planned Parenthood in New Haven on Monday to urge the courts to stay out of reproductive health decisions.

Blumenthal said it is not the Texas judge’s place to decide if the medication is safe.

“What this court is saying, in effect, is 'I know more about science, I know more about medicine, even though I'm just a judge',” Blumenthal said. “And in fact, he doesn't even know about the law. So we need to stop this kind of judicial overreach, which threatens the very foundation of our medical and drug approval system.”

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nancy Stanwood said the judge’s concerns are ideological, not medical.

“Mifepristone is safer than common medications like Tylenol, or penicillin, or Viagra,” Stanwood said. “And in the medical community, mifepristone for early medication abortion is not controversial at all. This case is not about medical science or about what's best for patients. It is a calculated attack on abortion access.”

Blumenthal said he was surprised, but relieved, to hear of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“If this were a Supreme Court that could be relied upon to follow the law and precedent, there would be no reason for surprise,” Blumenthal said. “But I was actually somewhat surprised, because we expected the worst.”

Blumenthal said he is leading the Senate in an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case will be heard on May 17.

If the Texas judge's decision is upheld by the court of appeals and the Supreme Court, Mifepristone will be banned across the country.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.