Attorney General Rosenblum Insists Medication Abortion Remain Accessible

January 31, 2024
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24 State AG Coalition Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Lower Court’s Ruling Reinstating Unwarranted Restrictions on Access to Gold Standard of Care for Abortion and Miscarriage Management 

Today, a multistate coalition of 24 state attorneys general, including Oregon, banded together to protect access to medication abortion nationwide. The coalition filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and Danco Laboratories LLC’s efforts to reverse a ruling by a conservative federal appeals court —the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals — that reinstated burdensome and unwarranted restrictions on the early-abortion medication mifepristone, after the FDA had determined those restrictions were medically unnecessary.

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision to unnecessarily restrict access to mifepristone ignores decades of scientific evidence and clinical research that shows this drug is both highly safe and effective,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.” “We are asking the United States Supreme Court to reverse that ruling so as to prevent disruption of this common, safe method of early abortion and miscarriage care and to the health care system generally. I feel compelled to add that for anyone who thinks this won’t impact access to abortion care in Oregon, unfortunately,  that is not true.”

Because mifepristone, combined with misoprostol, is the only medication approved by the FDA for abortion care, AG Rosenblum and the coalition argue that the Fifth Circuit’s ruling reinstating medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone has dangerous consequences for reproductive health care outcomes, particularly for low-income and underserved communities.

Among other things, affirmance by the Supreme Court of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling could lead many individuals to undergo procedural abortion, driving up risks, costs, and delays, and deprive many Americans of access to reproductive health care altogether. The amicus brief makes clear:

“States where abortion has been banned or nearly banned are home to more than 22 million women of childbearing age, represent­ing almost one third of the total population of women ages 15-49. The number of reported abortions performed in States with bans in effect has dropped to zero or close to zero . . . And distances and travel time to obtain abortion have spiked dramatically. For example, between March 2022 and September 2023, the average distance to the closest provider in Texas increased from 43 to 499 miles; in Idaho it increased from 40 to 235 miles.”

The coalition further argues that the ruling would create widespread confusion among providers, distributors, and pharmacies, and radically destabilize the regulatory process for drug approvals, stifling scientific innovation and imperiling the development and availability of thousands of drugs nationwide.

Joining Attorney General Rosenblum in today’s amicus brief are the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. Read the brief here.