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European doctor who prescribes abortion pills online sues FDA for allegedly seizing shipments

According to the lawsuit, the drugs intended for US patients were ordered from a pharmacy in India

James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

A European doctor who runs an online business prescribing abortion pills worldwide has sued the Food and Drug Administration and other U.S. entities, accusing the government of seizing shipments intended for her American patients.

What are the details?

Attorneys for Dutch physician Rebecca Gompert filed a lawsuit against the FDA, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and other U.S. officials on Monday, accusing the defendants of "actively using the power of the U.S. government to deny plaintiffs' patients their constitutionally protected right to safely terminate their pregnancies prior to viability."

Dr. Gompert runs two online operations — Aid Access and Women on Web — through which she provides online prescriptions for abortion-inducing drugs misoprostol and mifepristone. The prescriptions are filled through and shipped from a pharmacy in India.

The plaintiffs' complaint alleges that U.S. officials have seized somewhere between three and 10 doses of abortion drugs prescribed through Aid Access since March, and NPR reported that Gomperts also "believes the government has blocked Aid Access from receiving payments from some patients."

According to the Daily Beast, the FDA sent Gomperts a letter earlier this year "ordering her to cease operations, accusing her of selling 'unapproved new drugs' and 'misbranded drugs' to U.S. consumers."

In a statement announcing the lawsuit, Gompert's attorney, Richard Hearn, said his client has helped "thousands of women in the United States safely and effectively end their pregnancies."

Hearn added, "Her patients are almost always young, some even as young as 14 years old, poor and powerless. They are almost always victims of rape, emotional coercion by men holding power over them and/or physical abuse. For many, obtaining a medical abortion from Dr. Gomperts is not only their best option, it is their only option for safely ending their pregnancies."

The Hill reported that, according to the plaintiffs, "37,000 women, comprising residents of all 50 states, have contacted [Aid Access] since last March, and that Gomperts has prescribed the drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to more than 7,000 women in the U.S. during that time."

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