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Reproductive Health Access Project Statement on Access to Mifepristone

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

On Friday, April 7th, decisions were issued in two separate court cases involving mifepristone, one of two medications commonly used for a medication abortion in the United States. In Amarillo, Texas, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued a decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. FDA, attempting to block the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone. This decision was delayed for seven days in order for the Biden Administration to file an emergency appeal. They have since done so, and we now await a decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That same evening, Judge Thomas Rice in the Eastern District of Washington State issued a decision brought by 17 states and Washington, D.C., preventing the FDA from removing access to the medication in the plaintiffs’ jurisdictions. The FDA is now under conflicting orders and this case could be at the United States Supreme Court as early as the end of this week. This ruling is completely unprecedented and has potential implications that go far beyond mifepristone; it threatens the FDA’s authority over the approval process for medications and could have consequences for access to other FDA-approved medications.

The Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) condemns Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling and all politically-motivated attempts to strip away access to abortion care, including any attempts to ban mifepristone. Mifepristone has a proven history of safe and effective use for early abortion and is also commonly used to treat miscarriages. This effort is just one piece of a much larger strategy to take away access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including abortion, birth control, gender-affirming hormones, and more. Decisions such as this one are rooted in white supremacy and efforts to control reproductive and bodily autonomy by taking away people’s access to critical health care services and criminalizing those who seek, provide, or help others access care. It will also disproportionately harm communities that already experience systemic inequities, barriers to accessing health care, and higher levels of criminalization. This includes Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer communities, immigrants, disabled communities, young people, those working to make ends meet, and people who already live in states where access to care is banned or severely restricted. 

To be clear, while removing mifepristone from the market could have devastating consequences for access across the country, it does not mean that this is the end of medication abortion. Barring access to mifepristone takes away an essential option, but it is not the only way to safely and effectively have a medication abortion. Many people – both in states where abortion is and isn’t legal – are already choosing to use misoprostol-only protocols or are self-managing on their own. We have just as safe and effective misoprostol-only options for medication abortion. People will continue to self-source and self-manage their abortions, as they have always done. RHAP knows abortion is essential. People deserve the ability to exercise their reproductive autonomy with dignity– accessing abortions when they want and need them, regardless of what method they choose and whether it is in a clinical setting or otherwise.

No matter what comes next, RHAP’s work to train, support, and mobilize primary care clinicians within their communities to ensure equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, remains critical. We remain committed to supporting our clinicians and abortion seekers in our community as they continue to provide and access sexual and reproductive health care, no matter where they live and work.  

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