Federal judge in Washington state bars federal government from taking any action that would reduce access to mifepristone in Oregon, 17 other states
Today Judge Thomas O. Rice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued an order confirming that the injunction he issued a week ago protecting access to mifepristone in Oregon and 17 other states remains in full force. In other words, the order from the Texas judge and today’s order from the Fifth Circuit do not affect the Washington judge’s order; the 2023 REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) also remain in place in Oregon and the other 17 states.
“The late-night ruling by the federal appeals court in Texas caused confusion and dismay across the country. Thankfully, we have a key ruling by Judge Rice, which clarifies that in Oregon, mifepristone remains totally legal and patients will still be able to have a prescription filled by a certified pharmacy, including through the mail,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Our coalition will continue to fight for and protect access to abortion medications, which have been used safely for 23 years.”
The ruling also means that multiple visits to a doctor’s office are not required in order to get a prescription. In fact, telemedicine, followed by receiving the prescription by mail, remains a typical and often preferred way to obtain the medication, especially in rural areas of the state.
Yesterday, in an appeal of a separate Texas lawsuit, a panel of judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order imposing restrictions on access to mifepristone. Judge Rice’s order clarifies that those restrictions do not apply to the 18 states that filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Washington to preserve and expand access to abortion medication. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson are co-leading that lawsuit.