Attorney General Phil Weiser joins multistate coalition to fight back against decision to block access to medication abortion drug mifepristone
April 10, 2023 (DENVER)—Attorney General Phil Weiser today joined a multistate coalition of attorneys general to challenge the decision issued by a federal judge in Texas that could restrict medication abortion access nationwide.
In an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the coalition urges the court to stay pending appeal the district court’s ruling, which if allowed to take effect would halt the over two-decade old approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the medication abortion drug, mifepristone. Weiser and the coalition of 24 attorneys general warn that revoking federal approval for mifepristone will drastically reduce access to safe abortion care and miscarriage management for millions of people across the country, endangering lives, and trampling states’ authority to protect and promote access to abortion.
“The ruling in Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration is yet another flagrant attempt to deny women the right to make decisions about their own reproductive health care. Revoking the FDA’s approval of mifepristone despite the overwhelming clinical and research-based evidence establishing mifepristone’s safety and efficacy is unprecedented and will put the lives of countless women at serious risk. This ruling cannot stand,” Weiser said. “We must continue to work to ensure that once again every person has the right to make independent decisions about their own bodies and health. I will continue to fight for the right to access safe and effective abortion care.”
This ruling comes in a challenge brought by anti-abortion groups seeking to revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. On April 7, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, ordered the FDA to stay its approval of mifepristone, which happened in 2000. The court’s order does not take effect immediately, as the district court put its ruling on hold for seven days to give the federal government and the drug manufacturer the chance to appeal. Weiser and the coalition are urging the appeals court to continue to stay the lower court’s unprecedented and legally unsubstantiated decision pending the appeal.
The coalition notes that if the lower court decision takes effect, it could drastically curtail abortion access for millions of Americans. Mifepristone has been particularly critical in providing access to safe abortion care in low-income, underserved, and rural communities. According to current estimates, medication abortion accounts for over half, approximately 54 percent, of all abortions performed in the United States. Obstructing access to mifepristone would lead demand for procedural abortions to significantly increase, resulting in later and more risky procedures, and more complicated and costly logistics for many patients, especially those where procedural abortion is unavailable.
Joining Weiser in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
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