Supreme Court Ruling Preserves Access to Mifepristone in Legal Battle over FDA Approval
Welcome to Power + Voice, where we bring you up-to-date information on the latest news in health and social justice.
Today, we're going to discuss the Supreme Court's most recent ruling regarding access to mifepristone, one of the two medications required for a medical abortion.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that consumers would be permitted to purchase mifepristone even if the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the drug was challenged in court. Following a period in which the government might file an appeal, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk decided that the FDA's approval of mifepristone would be halted until the conclusion of that appeal. The Justice Department appealed that decision almost immediately, which led to the Supreme Court eventually hearing the case.
The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a confederation of anti-abortion organizations, brought up the action, which seeks to reverse the FDA's approval of mifepristone. Mifepristone approval is applicable on a national level. The lawsuit claims that the FDA should not have approved the use of mifepristone for telehealth purposes and that the agency failed to undertake a sufficient risk evaluation of the medicine before approving it for marketing in 2000.The Supreme Court's decision upholds the status quo, which means that mifepristone will continue to be available in the 37 states that allow at least one method of pharmacological abortion.
The future of mifepristone access, on the other hand, remains uncertain because the case has been returned to a three-judge panel of the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on May 17.
If Kacsmaryk's stay on the FDA's restrictions that have been in effect since 2016 is permitted to take effect, patients would be obliged to acquire mifepristone in person before seven weeks of pregnancy. This might have a significant impact on women's access to safe and timely abortions, as around 43 percent of all abortions performed with medication in 2020 were at seven weeks of gestation or later.
At Power + Voice, we will continue to monitor this developing situation and provide updates as they become available. It is important that all individuals have access to safe and legal abortion care, and we will continue to advocate for reproductive rights and justice for all.
Notes: Data current as of April 25, 2023.
Source: Guttmacher Institute