Medication Abortion and the Stakes of the Lawsuit That Could Block Access to Mifepristone Nationwide - Reproductive Freedom for All

Formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America


Medication Abortion and the Stakes of the Lawsuit That Could Block Access to Mifepristone Nationwide

To: Interested Parties
From: NARAL Pro-Choice America Research Team
Date: February 10, 2023

New research from NARAL Pro-Choice America shows that if the upcoming Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA decision forces the FDA to withdraw its decades-old approval of mifepristone, the impact on access to abortion care would be devastating.

Just days after voters made their support for abortion clear in November’s midterm elections, anti-choice organizations filed an unfounded federal lawsuit —Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA — that seeks to revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of two medications typically used in a medication abortion, despite the medication’s proven safety and effectiveness. Now, the case will be decided by a Trump-appointed judge with a record of extremist rulings on a range of fundamental rights, including reproductive freedom.

The impact of this case could be sweeping and horrifying. Medication abortion is now used to provide more than half of all abortion care nationwide. If mifepristone were made unavailable throughout the country, it would eliminate the most commonly used method of abortion care.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision to end Roe, 17 states and counting are enforcing bans on abortion and anti-choice extremists are pushing for more. We’re only beginning to see the horrifying impacts of that decision. Right now, 24.5 million women of reproductive age 1 are living in states with abortion bans. If FDA approval of mifepristone is revoked, 64.5 million women of reproductive age 1 in the U.S. would lose access to medication abortion care, an exponential increase in harm overnight. This doesn’t include people who can get pregnant but do not identify as women—if we factor in that population, the number of people harmed is even higher. This decision would only exacerbate the abortion access crisis that continues to sweep the country now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, increasing the number of people experiencing a loss of access by 163%¹.

This lawsuit is a baseless attempt to force the FDA to withdraw its decades-long approval of mifepristone. Medication abortion care is a safe and effective option for ending an early pregnancy that has been approved by the FDA for over two decades. It typically involves taking two different prescribed medications: A pill called mifepristone is taken first and the second pill, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later.

Here’s the truth: With a safety record of over 99%, medication abortion care is safer than Tylenol. Attacks on medication abortion care are not based in science—they are politically motivated. Lying about medication abortion care is part of anti-choice groups’ longstanding disinformation campaign meant to further stigmatize abortion and block access to care. Medication abortion care helps give people the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives and families. Without it, millions of people will be stripped of their reproductive freedom.

¹ This data is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates based on bridged race categories released by the National Center for Health Statistics.