Florida Pharmacies Could Face Criminal Charges

Jan 17, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule change that will allow retail pharmacies to offer chemical abortions in the United States for the first time, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has warned pharmacies in Florida that two state laws make it illegal in the Sunshine State. 

Mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486, blocks a necessary hormone for the pregnancy to advance and cuts off blood and nutrients to the unborn baby, slowly starving it to death over one to two days while the second induces contractions necessary to expel materials from the uterus. This drug is taken with misoprostol, which induces labor and causes severe cramping, contractions and bleeding to expel the baby from the womb. Until now, mifepristone could be dispensed only by some mail-order pharmacies or by specially certified doctors or clinics. The second drug, misoprostol, is already available through a traditional prescription and is used to treat other conditions. 

Under the new FDA rule, pharmacies can apply for a certification to distribute mifepristone with one of the two companies that make it. If granted the certification, the pharmacy will be able to dispense the pill directly to patients upon receiving a prescription from a certified prescriber. The FDA states that “to become certified to dispense mifepristone, pharmacies must complete a Pharmacy Agreement Form and certified pharmacies must be able to ship mifepristone using a shipping service that provides tracking information.” 

However, abortion is illegal in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy with a few exceptions, including preserving the life of the mother. In addition, a woman must have an ultrasound, undergo counseling, and wait 24 hours after that period to continue with the abortion. Furthermore, Florida law states, “No termination of pregnancy shall be performed at any time except by a physician. It is unlawful for any person to perform or assist in performing an abortion on a person, except in an emergency care situation, other than in a validly licensed hospital or abortion clinic or in a physician’s office.”

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration issued a Florida Medicaid Health Care Alert on January 11, reminding pharmacies that they “must continue to comply with Florida laws that govern the performance of abortions.” 

The alert states: 

“In light of the recent decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow retail pharmacies to dispense Mifepristone, the Agency issues this alert to remind providers that they must continue to comply with Florida laws that govern the performance of abortions. 

Two statutes are relevant here. First, section 390.0111(2), Florida Statutes, provides that ‘[n]o termination of pregnancy shall be performed at any time except by a [licensed] physician.’ Second, section 797.03 (1), Florida Statutes, states that ‘[i]t is unlawful for any person to perform or assist in performing an abortion on a person, except in an emergency care situation, other than in a validly licensed hospital or abortion clinic or in a physician’s office.’  Willfully violating these provisions could result in criminal penalties.  See 390.0111(10)(a), Florida Statutes, and 797.03(4), Florida Statutes. 

The Agency will refer to local law enforcement any evidence of criminal activity that it discovers in its surveys of providers.” 

The American College of Pediatricians recently released a 24-page report, “Chemical Abortions: With and Without Medical Supervision,” authored by Dr. Jane Anderson, Dr. Patricia Lee June and Dr. Scott Field, which addressed the implications of the FDA’s rule change. They warn, “Women are deeply harmed by chemical abortion.” 

The physicians further wrote, “This disregard for human life and safety betrays the purpose of the FDA — safety — and reveals what chemical abortion truly serves: politics and profit, not people. … Chemical abortion pills are intended to result in the death of a human being. This is antithetical to the practice of medicine. Instead of protecting a mother and her baby, chemical abortion puts a woman’s life at risk and makes her the facilitator of her child’s death.” 

“Bleeding, cramping, and abdominal pain are commonly associated with a chemical abortion, and approximately 8 percent of women will experience bleeding for more than 30 days afterward. Planned Parenthood acknowledges the following possible complications after a chemical abortion: bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, retained fetal tissue, and incomplete abortion,” the authors wrote. 

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released data in February 2022 revealing that chemical abortions accounted for the majority of all abortions for the first time in U.S. history in 2020. Every three years, Guttmacher surveys all known abortions providers in America. In 2020, abortion pills accounted for 54 percent of all U.S. abortions, an increase from 44 percent in 2019. Chemical abortions accounted for 39 percent of all abortions in 2017, an increase from 29 percent in 2014. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Governor Ron DeSantis is to be commended for protecting the lives of innocent unborn children and their mothers. More states should follow Florida’s lead regarding preventing pharmacies from making it too convenient to kill unborn babies by simply taking pills.” 

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