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

Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 24 state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting the federal government's regulations involving mifepristone, a drug which is widely used for medication abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, et al. v. FDA, in which the court resurrected medically unnecessary restrictions on the dispensation of mifepristone. In today’s amicus brief, the coalition of 24 states urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision and preserve full and complete access to mifepristone, arguing that access to medication abortion helps states protect the health and lives of their residents. The coalition states further assert that the Fifth Circuit’s decision, if allowed to take effect, could disrupt full access to the most common method of abortion, harming countless individuals in need of abortion care or management of pregnancy loss, with widespread implications for the healthcare system. Due to an emergency stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court last April, complete access to mifepristone currently remains legal, including in California.

“Scientifically unnecessary restrictions on a proven, safe, and effective drug for medication abortion threatens the health and safety of millions of individuals across this country,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today’s amicus brief underscores our continued commitment to safeguarding full access to mifepristone, which saves lives and empowers vulnerable communities. Now more than ever, in this healthcare crisis, my office remains firmly committed to defending an individual’s ability to access reproductive healthcare.”

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. 

On November 18, 2022, 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, seeking a preliminary injunction that would force the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rescind or suspend its approval of mifepristone. The district court granted the preliminary injunction, and the case went up on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On August 16, 2023, the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling affirming portions of the district court’s order and limiting access to mifepristone. The district court’s order is currently blocked from going into effect due to an emergency stay ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2023. On September 8, 2023, the Biden administration and the sponsor of mifepristone filed petitions in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision. On December 13, 2023, the Supreme Court agreed to review the Fifth Circuit’s ruling.

In today’s amicus brief, the coalition of states supported the federal government, arguing that if allowed to take effect, the Fifth Circuit’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 more invasive procedures from hospitals and medical clinics that are already stretched thin.

Attorney General Bonta in today’s amicus brief joined the attorneys general of Arizona, 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.

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

# # #