Attorney General Bonta Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Access to Medication Abortion

Friday, April 14, 2023
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OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta continued a multistate fight to protect patients’ access to mifepristone, widely used for medication abortion, after a Texas court decision last week suspended U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the pill. Today, the Biden Administration sought emergency relief from the U.S. Supreme Court, to block the entirety of the Northern District of Texas’s April 7 ruling in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al. v. FDA et al. A coalition of 24 states filed an amicus brief in support of the Biden Administration’s effort, arguing that access to medication abortion helps them protect the health and lives of their residents, and that the Texas court’s order could have devastating impacts on millions of people across the country.
“Medication abortion is a lifeline for patients everywhere — especially those from underserved communities or living in rural areas,” said Attorney General Bonta. “By significantly disrupting access to mifepristone, the Texas court’s ruling would endanger their health and safety and threaten their future. I urge the U.S. Supreme Court to heed our call and block this unprecedented and dangerous legal attack on the FDA’s judgments about a necessary, lifesaving medication. California stands with our partners today in full support of the Biden Administration’s effort to defend access to medication abortion for all Americans."
Mifepristone is a safe and effective medication prescribed to patients who need critical, time-sensitive reproductive care, including for abortions and the treatment of miscarriages. Studies show that medication abortion allows people to get reproductive care as early as possible when it is safest, least expensive, and least invasive. It plays an important role in reducing barriers and promoting equitable access to healthcare, particularly for those who live in rural and underserved communities. Mifepristone is considered incredibly safe to use as less than a fraction of one percent of patients face any serious side effects — a lower risk of complications than that of wisdom tooth removal, colonoscopy, or Viagra use.
On Friday, after the Texas district court ruled to block access to mifepristone, Attorney General Bonta emphasized California’s commitment to reproductive freedom and highlighted protections for abortion seekers in this state that remain unaffected by the court’s ruling. On Monday, he supported the Biden Administration’s application in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for an emergency stay. The Fifth Circuit returned a ruling on Wednesday, technically allowing mifepristone to remain on the market, but sharply limiting access to the medication. Today, the Attorney General joined in support of the Biden Administration’s latest effort, urging the Supreme Court to restore full and complete access to mifepristone.
In their amicus brief today, the attorneys general argued that the Texas ruling would:

  • Jeopardize the health, safety, and financial wellbeing of many pregnant people, by disrupting access to medication abortion;
  • 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 rights of sovereign states that promote access to abortion care for their residents.

In filing today’s amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta was joined by the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A copy of today’s amicus brief can be found here.

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