Attorney General Bonta Joins Multistate Amicus Brief Defending Access to Mifepristone

Friday, February 10, 2023
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Mifepristone is prescribed to patients who need critical, time-sensitive reproductive care, including for abortions and the treatment of miscarriages

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in a legal fight to protect nationwide access to mifepristone, which is widely used for medication abortion. The attorneys general filed an amicus brief opposing a lawsuit that challenges the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, despite the fact that mifepristone has been approved for more than 20 years. Mifepristone is prescribed to patients who need critical, time-sensitive reproductive care, including for abortions and the treatment of miscarriages. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al. v. FDA, are currently seeking a preliminary injunction that would force the FDA to rescind its approval of mifepristone. 
“Make no mistake: This lawsuit is an attack on the reproductive freedoms of millions,” said Attorney General Bonta. “When people’s access to critical health care is cut off, it’s our most vulnerable communities who pay the biggest price. Mifepristone is a lifeline to people across the nation, especially those who must travel long distances to access reproductive healthcare. My office will fight to protect and defend all Californians’ access to safe and legal abortions wherever and whenever it is threatened.”
On November 18, a group of plaintiffs led by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The lawsuit argued that the FDA overstepped its authority when it approved mifepristone for use as medication abortion in 2000, because it does not provide a ‘meaningful therapeutic benefit’ over other available treatments such as surgical abortion procedures. 
In their brief, the attorneys general assert that:

  • Mifepristone has been found to be safe, reliable, and effective in scientific studies; 
  • The availability of mifepristone has helped promote access to abortion in underserved and rural communities; and
  • Such a ruling would violate states’ rights to make the policy decision to promote access to abortion for their residents. 

In filing the brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.
Supporting, expanding, and protecting reproductive freedoms is a top priority for Attorney General Bonta: In November, he led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in a letter urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve over-the-counter (OTC) birth control pills. In October, the Attorney General launched the California Reproductive Rights Task Force, bringing together legal and law enforcement partners to protect reproductive rights in the state and issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement on addressing out-of-state agencies who may seek to investigate, arrest or prosecute out-of-state patients seeking reproductive care in the state. He also led 23 attorneys general across the country in filing a letter supporting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ new rule establishing broader access to abortion care for veterans and their beneficiaries. In September, the Attorney General led a multistate coalition of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting a motion by reproductive rights advocates seeking to halt enforcement of several Texas anti-abortion laws, issued a consumer alert to help Californians safeguard their privacy while accessing reproductive or abortion care, and issued legal guidance on the prohibition of the extradition of individuals providing or accessing reproductive care in California. In June, he issued guidance on abortion rights and protections under California law, which remain fully intact, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. He also issued a consumer alert warning Californians seeking reproductive health services about the limited and potentially misleading nature of the services provided by crisis pregnancy centers, and emphasized health apps’ obligations under California law to protect and secure reproductive health information.
A copy of the amicus brief filed today can be found here.

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