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Judge lets NC lawmakers defend abortion pill laws

The lawsuit alleges state laws and rules conflict with the doctor's ability to provide mifepristone to patients.

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders can defend in federal court the state restrictions on dispensing abortion pills that are being challenged by a physician, a judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge William Osteen granted on Friday the request by House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger to formally intervene in the lawsuit filed by a physician in January.

They sought involvement because after the office of Democratic state Attorney General Josh Stein said it agreed with the plaintiff's arguments. Stein is a case defendant but also an abortion rights supporter.

The lawsuit alleges state laws and rules conflict with the doctor's ability to provide mifepristone to patients.

Dr. Amy Bryant — the physician who sued — as well as Stein and other defendants didn't oppose the legislators' intervention request.

Osteen told Berger and Moore to file a written response to the lawsuit by March 24. In a previous document, the legislative leaders wrote that North Carolina abortion regulations apply “with equal force to both surgical and chemical abortion procedures” and that Bryant's arguments would mean the state couldn't regulate the safety of chemical abortions.

Ryan is an Arkansas native and podcast junkie. He was first introduced to public radio during an internship with his hometown NPR station, KUAF. Ryan is a graduate of Tufts University in Somerville, Mass., where he studied political science and led the Tufts Daily, the nation’s smallest independent daily college newspaper. In his spare time, Ryan likes to embroider, attend musicals, and spend time with his fiancée.