Attorney General Bonta Backs Federal Fight to Defend Medication Abortion Access

Monday, May 1, 2023
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Joins 23 states in supporting Biden administration’s appeal against Texas court ruling suspending FDA approval of mifepristone

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 24 states in filing an amicus brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in defense of nationwide access to medication abortion. The Biden Administration appealed a Texas district court’s decision to suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, a medication widely used for abortions and miscarriage management. Although the U.S. Supreme Court stayed any limitation of access to mifepristone, litigation of the underlying case remains ongoing. The Fifth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on May 17, 2023.  Today, in their amicus brief supporting the Biden Administration, the coalition of states urged the Fifth Circuit to reverse the Texas district court’s order. The states argue that affirming the district court decision would have devastating impacts on the health and safety of their residents.

“Restricting access to reproductive care endangers people’s health and safety,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Mifepristone is an exceedingly safe and effective medication that saves lives and empowers vulnerable communities. The FDA’s decades-old approval of its use was based on scientific research and data — unlike the recent attacks on it, which are fueled by empty rhetoric and partisan claims. I urge the court to heed our call and reverse the Texas court’s dangerous and irresponsible decision. As some try to roll back reproductive freedoms across the nation, California and its partners will continue to fight for more rights, more liberties, and more access to healthcare for all.”

On April 7, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued its ruling in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al. v. FDA, ordering the FDA to suspend its 23-year-old approval of mifepristone for use in medication abortion. On April 21, the ruling was temporarily blocked from taking effect by the U.S. Supreme Court, which stayed the district court’s order pending appeal.

In their amicus brief supporting the Biden administration’s appeal in the Fifth Circuit court, the coalition of 24 states argued that if allowed to take effect, the Texas court’s ruling would:

  • Jeopardize the health, safety, and financial well-being of many pregnant people, by disrupting access to medication abortion and interfering with miscarriage management;
  • Deepen healthcare disparities by disproportionately impacting groups already underserved by the healthcare system, including people of color, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals;
  • Add more stress to an already overwhelmed healthcare system by causing a drastic increase in pregnant patients forced to seek invasive procedures from hospitals and medical clinics already stretched thin; and
  • Violate the interests of sovereign states that made policy decisions to promote access to abortion care for their residents. 

Attorney General Bonta was joined in today’s amicus brief by the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, 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.

A copy of today’s amicus brief can be found here.

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