(Reuters) – A maker of abortion pills and a doctor have filed lawsuits challenging state restrictions on the medication, in the first lawsuits of their kind since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal constitutional right to abortion.
In a complaint filed in the federal court in Huntington, West Virginia, GenBioPro Inc said the state cannot override the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval from 2000 of mifepristone by banning the drug, the first in a two-drug regimen for medication abortions.
The doctor, Amy Bryant, filed a separate lawsuit in the federal court in Durham, North Carolina challenging state-imposed restrictions on obtaining mifepristone, which she said impeded her ability to treat patients.
Many states have banned abortions or made them significantly harder since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June.
GenBioPro, which sells a generic version of mifepristone, said the West Virginia pill ban enacted in September under the state’s Virginia’s Unborn Child Protection Act “conflicts with the strong national interest in ensuring access to a federally approved medication to end a pregnancy.”
The lawsuit said the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which gives federal laws priority over conflicting state laws, and Commerce Clause, which restricts states from burdening interstate commerce.
Bryant objected to North Carolina requirements that patients obtain abortion pills only in person from physicians in specially certified facilities, and undergo as state-mandated counseling at least 72 hours before having abortions.
Her lawsuit said the restrictions “interfere with her ability to provide medical care to her patients according to her best medical judgment and in accordance with federal law.”
The offices of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Morrisey is a Republican, and Stein is a Democrat.
The West Virginia lawsuit was reported earlier by The New York Times, and the North Carolina lawsuit by ABC News.
The cases are GenBioPro Inc v Sorsaia et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, No. 23-00058; and Bryant v Stein et al, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, No. 23-00077.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)