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NC clinics want nurses to offer medication-induced abortions

With both abortions in North Carolina and the number of out-of-state clinic patients soaring after Roe v. Wade was struck down, judges should permit more trained health professionals to prescribe pills for medication-induced abortions, plaintiffs in a lawsuit wrote on Monday.

Abortion providers, medical workers and an abortion-rights group awaiting trial next year in their 2020 lawsuit challenging many state abortion rules asked a three-judge panel to act now and block a law limiting who can provide such medication from just certain licensed physicians.

Allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives who work at certified abortion clinics to prescribe these pills would immediately expand access to abortion in North Carolina, the plaintiffs said. “Advanced practice clinicians” already can prescribe the same two pills used in medication-induced abortions for managing a patient’s miscarriage, according to a memo describing the legal grounds for a preliminary injunction.

North Carolina abortion clinic operators have said they’ve seen a marked increase in the number of women coming from other states that now have more severe abortion limitations following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June.

The memo said Planned Parenthood South Atlantic — a leading abortion provider in the state and a plaintiff — performed 1,298 abortions in September, which is a 68% increase compared to September 2021.