For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 13, 2023
Contact: [email protected]
NARAL Pro-Choice America Responds to 5th Circuit Ruling Preserving FDA’s Approval of Mifepristone For Now But Restricting Access
Washington, DC — Today, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a partial stay in the federal case that could effectively ban mifepristone in all 50 states. While the court blocked large parts of Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling meant to remove FDA approval of mifepristone, it also reinstated outdated and medically unnecessary restrictions on the safe and effective medication that were previously lifted by the FDA while litigation continues. The case is now likely to be appealed and eventually head to the U.S. Supreme Court.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement in response:
“Once again, we see that our court system has been rigged by the far-right to deliver results that are undemocratic and dangerous. We’re relieved that the FDA’s approval of mifepristone stands for now, but by reinstating outdated and unnecessary restrictions, these judges—many of whom were appointed by a twice-impeached now-indicted former president—put tens of millions of people’s health at risk. Anti-choice extremists want to ban all abortion, everywhere. They can’t win elections, so they’ve turned to the courts to do their dirty work. As this legal fight goes on, our reproductive freedom champions across the country must work to protect access to medication abortion no matter what happens next in the courts. ”
Last Friday, Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to block its approval of mifepristone starting tomorrow. Mifepristone is one of the two medications typically used in medication abortion care. Medication abortion accounts for more than half of all abortion care nationwide and has been safely used for over 20 years. Medication abortion care is safer than Tylenol. Kacsmaryk’s ruling would be the first time in history that a court is overturning a science-based approval of a safe and tested medicine—potentially threatening approval of all FDA-approved medications on the line, including hormone blockers, HIV/AIDS medications, and vaccines.
These rulings come after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—ending the constitutional right to abortion and opening the door for extremist state lawmakers to ban abortion. The Dobbs decision is already having a devastating impact throughout the country as 18 states have eliminated or restricted access because of abortion bans. The people hurt most by these bans and restrictions are those who already face barriers to accessing abortion care—including women; Black, Latina/x, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous people; those working to make ends meet; the LGBTQ+ community; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; people with disabilities, and other historically oppressed communities.
Revoking the FDA approval of mifepristone would mean that 64.5 million women of reproductive age—in addition to other people who may not identify as women, and are not captured in this Census data, but are capable of becoming pregnant and may need an abortion—in the United States could lose access to medication abortion as we know it. If mifepristone is made unavailable, it will exacerbate the abortion access crisis that continues to sweep the country since Roe v. Wade overturned.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for everybody. NARAL is powered by its 4 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.