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Gov. Cooper and AG Stein Work to Prevent Restrictions on Chemical Abortion Drugs

Girl taking white pill and holding glass of water

In recent weeks Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein have reasserted their pledge to make access to dangerous chemical abortion drugs easier for the women and girls of North Carolina. Both political leaders have joined in friend of the court briefs that attempt to maintain loosened restrictions on the chemical abortion pill mifepristone—alleging its effectiveness and safety.

Cooper, along with 21 other governors, joined the Reproductive Freedom Alliance in filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that easy access to mifepristone be preserved. Likewise, AG Stein has joined in a brief in the same case with 24 attorneys general in support of an effort to reverse a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that reinstated the important safeguards the FDA had originally placed on the chemical abortion drug. Stein has also filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of North Carolina with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a West Virginia case urging the court to allow the FDA’s loosened mifepristone safeguards to stand.

As we shared in December of last year, the FDA acted to make access to this chemical abortion drug easier when they removed several safeguards that had been in place since the medication was approved by the FDA in 2000.

When the FDA originally approved the chemical abortion drug Mifepristone in the year 2000, a number of important safeguards were put into place, including:

  • A limit only allowing the drug to be administered up to 7-weeks gestational age of the unborn child;
  • Necessary doctor’s office visits;
  • In-person physician dispensing and administration of the medication; and
  • Non-fatal adverse event reporting.

In 2016, the FDA loosened some safeguards, allowing:

  • Prescriptions of the chemical to be obtained via telehealth;
  • Non-physician providers to place orders for the drug;
  • Prescriptions up to 10-weeks gestation of the unborn child;
  • Elimination of the reporting of non-fatal events.

In 2021, the FDA further allowed Mifepristone to be shipped to patients through the mail, and in 2023, they permanently removed the in-person dispensing requirement.

Chemical Abortion in North Carolina

Current N.C. law requires women to see a physician in personand to take the Mifepristone in the doctor’s presence. This is a crucial safeguard because doctors can, and should, verify the pregnancy and the gestational age of the baby, rule out ectopic pregnancies, and witness the patient begin the drug regimen, ultimately making this a safer experience for women and girls across our state and nation.

Chemical abortions represent 66% of all resident abortions in North Carolina, per the Charlotte Lozier Institute’s 2021 statistics, the most current report at this time. Sadly, we recognize that- without these restrictions, most women would experience the horror of abortion away from a medical setting and without the support of medical personnel. Many would be alone and unable to recognize the very serious side effects of chemical abortion including incomplete abortion, infection, undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, hemorrhage, and even death.

The FDA’s original safeguards were put into place for good reason and should not be weakened or eliminated. Our ultimate goal would be the elimination of all chemical abortions, sparing the lives of the unborn from this horrific end. Until then, we must continue to fight to protect unborn babies and the women and girls who will otherwise be at greater risk without these important safeguards.

We should also pray that Gov. Cooper and Attorney General Stein will have a change of heart and rescind their support of these misguided efforts.

The current applicable provisions in North Carolina law are:

§ 90‐21.83A. Informed consent to medical abortion ( and

§ 90‐21.83B. Distribution of abortion‐inducing drugs and duties of physician (

These laws include strengthening modifications that were made in 2023 in SL 2023-14 (S20) and SL 2023-65 (H190).


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