Friday, April 7, 2023 | News

Putting politics over health: Targeting medication abortion

Statement on U.S. District Court decision in Texas mifepristone case from Ipas President and CEO Anu Kumar

The ruling by federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas suspending the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of mifepristone, one of two medications used in medication abortion in the United States, is a devastating attack on reproductive rights and abortion access. 

The Alliance Defending Freedom’s lawsuit against the FDA, which led to this ruling, was a politically motivated attempt by anti-rights actors to deny people bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.

Mifepristone has been used safely and effectively by millions in the United States for abortion care over the past 20 years. It has been heavily researched, and subject to more regulation than most medications. That this medication has been targeted specifically clearly reveals that the lawsuit is not about safety at all.

If mifepristone is withdrawn from the market, people seeking medication abortion even in states where abortion is currently legal and available will be affected. With the fall of Roe v. Wade last year, abortion is already out of reach for millions of people in the United States, as many states have banned or severely restricted abortion. This ruling will make it even harder for women, particularly in vulnerable communities, to have access to medication abortion.

We know from Ipas’s decades of experience in countries around the world where abortion is severely restricted that, even when abortion is not available within the formal health-care system, people will find ways to obtain medication abortion pills to self-manage their abortion on their own terms.

According to the World Health Organization, self-managed abortion is safe, effective and a recommended method of care. 

We know from our work that misoprostol alone is a common and effective method of medication abortion—available in many countries over the counter without a prescription and at a low cost. Misoprostol alone is an important part of the abortion care continuum.

Everyone deserves access to the full spectrum of abortion care options. Abortion pills expand access to care, help people make their own medical decisions and reduce abortion stigma. 

Abortion pills should be available to everyone, everywhere, whether in a clinic or for self-managed abortion. While we condemn the court’s anti-rights decision, we remain committed to ensuring that everyone who needs it has access to abortion using pills—on their own, when and where they want—and to pursuing new models of self-care that meet everyone’s wants and needs.

It’s important to note that the decision won’t take effect for seven days, allowing the U.S. government time to appeal, which means that mifepristone remains protected for the moment. 

For more information contact: media@ipas.org

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