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California Announces Emergency Stockpile of Abortion Medication, Defending Against Extreme Texas Court Ruling

  • Governor Newsom announced that California has secured an emergency stockpile of up to 2 million pills of Misoprostol, a safe and effective medication abortion drug, in the wake of an extremist judge seeking to block Mifepristone, a critical abortion pill.
  • California shared the negotiated terms of its Misoprostol purchase agreement to assist other states in securing Misoprostol, at low cost.

SACRAMENTO – As the Biden Administration appeals a decision by an extremist Texas judge seeking to block access to Mifepristone, a commonly used abortion pill in a two-drug regimen, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that California has secured a stockpile of Misoprostol, another abortion medication that can be taken on its own to induce a safe and effective abortion.

While California still believes Mifepristone is central to the preferred regimen for medication abortion, the State negotiated and purchased an emergency stockpile of Misoprostol in anticipation of Friday’s ruling by far-right federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to ensure that California remains a safe haven for safe, affordable, and accessible reproductive care. More than 250,000 pills have already arrived in California, and the State has negotiated the ability to purchase up to 2 million Misoprostol pills as needed through CalRx. To support other states in securing Misoprostol at a low cost, California has shared the negotiated terms of the purchase agreement with all states in the Reproductive Freedom Alliance.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “In response to this extremist ban on a medication abortion drug, our state has secured a stockpile of an alternative medication abortion drug to ensure that Californians continue to have access to safe reproductive health treatments. We will not cave to extremists who are trying to outlaw these critical abortion services. Medication abortion remains legal in California.”

The ruling on Friday in Texas seeks to halt the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Mifepristone in an attempt to remove the drug from pharmacy shelves across the country, threatening to severely curb access to safe abortion care.

WHY IT MATTERS: For decades, medication abortion has been a reliable, affordable, and accessible way for people to get abortion care. Mifepristone, which the FDA first approved in 2000, is taken in combination with Misoprostol. This regimen has been used in more than half of abortions nationwide and is widely considered the standard of care.

CALIFORNIA FIGHTS BACK BY:

  • Purchasing Misoprostol, through CalRx, to ensure California providers can continue to provide medication abortions without disruption. Pharmacies facing shortages can go to Abortion.CA.GOV to find out how to access the stockpile.
  • Informing Medi-Cal providers about continued reimbursement for medication abortion using a Misoprostol-only treatment regimen.
  • Reminding health plans of California statute that requires the coverage of all other types of abortion and abortion-related services with no cost-sharing or utilization management, including misoprostol.
  • Updating Abortion.CA.GOV, California’s abortion resource website, to address questions regarding the Texas court decision and its potential impact on their access to medication abortion.
  • Proactively working with other states through the Reproductive Freedom Alliance to protect access in advance of Friday’s decision.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

  • Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis: “Today’s announcement reaffirms California’s commitment to lead the fight against extremist attempts to take away the fundamental right to reproductive care. I applaud Governor Newsom’s swift action to ensure that Californians and those who seek care here can continue to access safe abortions.”
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins: “We are continually looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve on reproductive access in California. I applaud Governor Newsom on his leadership to ensure decisions made in other states on medication abortion do not prevent Californians from getting reproductive care. I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature on additional efforts to safeguard abortion access in California.”
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon: “I applaud this effort by Governor Newsom to ensure that critical abortion medication is available for every woman in need, even while other states fight to strip away that right to bodily autonomy. With the legal future of mifepristone uncertain, taking early action to make sure we are well-supplied with misoprostol will mean continued access to reproductive healthcare for Californians across the state.”
  • First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom: “I’m proud of Governor Newsom’s commitment to safeguarding and expanding the personal freedom that comes from reproductive choice. In a time when targeted backlash against women’s progress persists around the country, California has led in the fight to value women and treat them equitably. I’m thankful to all of the Governors who have joined the Reproductive Freedom Alliance for their partnership and commitment to being bold in protecting women’s freedoms and bodily autonomy.”

KEY PRIOR ACTIONS: In September 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law a budget and legislative package that invested more than $200 million in new funds to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion care. Of this, $40 million is to cover provider costs for people who cannot afford care (known as uncompensated care), and $20 million is for an “Abortion Practical Support Fund” to help cover the costs associated with abortion care, including travel and lodging both for people in California and people forced to come to California due to restrictions in their home state. These investments will make it easier for people experiencing barriers to care to access critical health care services.

BIGGER PICTURE: Governor Newsom recently led 21 Governors in creating the Reproductive Freedom Alliance – a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan coalition to protect and expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion. The Alliance facilitates proactive and swift coordination across reproductive freedom states so that they can put up effective firewalls to protect and expand access to reproductive care.

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