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Maryland board approves funds for abortion pill stockpile

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland board approved an emergency procurement of more than $1 million on Wednesday to pay for a stockpile of a widely used abortion pill due to uncertainty surrounding legal challenges against the drug's use.

The Board of Public Works approved the funds to pay for 35,000 doses that would last several years, if necessary. The stockpile, acquired in April, includes 30,000 doses of mifepristone and 5,000 doses of misoprostol. The powerful spending panel is comprised of Gov. Wes Moore, Comptroller Brooke Lierman and Treasurer Dereck Davis.

Moore, a Democrat, noted before the vote that the drug has been available for decades and has fallen under "a very unique and distinct attack."

The governor said he wanted to be clear "that reproductive freedom is non-negotiable: that my administration will continue to defend and protect women's reproductive freedom and access to essential health care here in the state of Maryland. Full stop."

Lierman, a Democrat, described the stockpiling as "a really important opportunity for Maryland to double down on expressing its support for women and our reproductive choices."

"By moving quickly when the federal court system created uncertainty around the future use and availability of mifepristone, the emergency stockpile will preserve this medication as an important option for individuals seeking safe reproductive health care here in the state of Maryland," Lierman said.

Moore announced in April that the state would stockpile the drug through a memorandum of understanding with the University of Maryland Medical System in response to the legal challenges. Later that month, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to leave access to mifepristone unchanged at least into next year as appeals play out.

A court case that began in Texas sought to roll back Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug. Lower courts had said that women seeking the drug should face more restrictions on getting it while the case continues, but the Supreme Court disagreed.

The controversy arose less than a year after the Supreme Court's conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed more than a dozen states to effectively ban abortion.

(© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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