Attorney General Phil Weiser joins multistate coalition to protect access to medication abortion and save lives
Feb. 10, 2023 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser today joined a multistate coalition to defend and protect safe access to medication abortion nationwide.
In an amicus brief filed in Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the coalition of 22 states has asked the court to reject a challenge brought by anti-abortion groups seeking to revoke the FDA’s approval of the medication abortion drug, mifepristone.
The brief warns that withdrawing federal approval for mifepristone would drastically reduce access to safe abortion care and miscarriage management for millions of people across the country, including in Colorado. A ban on mifepristone would affect states like Colorado where abortion care is legal. The coalition is urging the court to reject this baseless attempt to undermine the FDA’s authority and upend decades of medical practice.
“Access to safe, medically-assisted abortion care is critical to women’s health and safety,” said Weiser. “This attack on a women’s right to make their own health care decisions puts lives at serious risk, especially in low-income and rural communities, and threatens to undermine important health care services. I urge the court to reject this unjustified attempt to trample that right and the rule of law.”
In 2000, the FDA approved mifepristone as a single-dose oral medication used for early-term abortions. Since its approval, mifepristone has been safely used to terminate pregnancies and is used in more than half of all abortions today, including where necessary to treat early miscarriage and prevent additional complications. Decades of clinical research and studies have confirmed mifepristone’s safety and efficacy.
If the district court orders the FDA to withdraw or suspend approval for mifepristone, the medication would be removed from the market nationwide. In their brief, the coalition argues that requiring the FDA to withdraw or suspend its approval of mifepristone, despite the overwhelming clinical data demonstrating its safety and efficacy, risks undermining the integrity of the FDA-approval process for other drugs.
The availability of the abortion pill has been particularly critical in providing access to abortion care in low-income, underserved, and rural communities. The coalition also asserts that revoking the FDA approval of mifepristone would force millions to seek more invasive and expensive procedural abortion care, which would disproportionately harm vulnerable, low-income, and underserved communities. According to 2020 data, 89% of U.S. counties have no abortion clinic, and 38% of women of reproductive age reside in counties with no clinics. Moreover, lack of access to safe abortion care leads to worsened health outcomes and higher mortality, especially for Black women.
Today’s amicus brief was filed by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.