As U.S. Supreme Court Considers Today’s Argument in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, et al. v. FDA, Attorney General Bonta Reaffirms California’s Commitment to Protecting Access to Medication Abortion

Monday, March 25, 2024
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OAKLAND — As the U.S. Supreme Court considers today’s argument in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, et al. v. FDA, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement urging the Court to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision on mifepristone, a drug which is widely used for medication abortion. The Fifth Circuit’s decision in this case would revive medically unnecessary restrictions on the dispensation of mifepristone. If allowed to take effect, the decision 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. California Attorney General Bonta, alongside 24 state attorneys general nationwide, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting the federal government's defense of its regulations involving mifepristone. 

“We stand at a critical juncture in the ongoing fight for reproductive freedom,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Upholding full access to mifepristone isn’t just about preserving access to a medication; it’s about affirming the fundamental right of every individual to autonomy over their own body and reproductive healthcare decisions. The California Department of Justice will remain immovably committed to ensuring that our state continues to be a safe haven for all individuals seeking reproductive healthcare services, including medication abortion. I urge the Supreme Court to stand on the right side of law and history by safeguarding complete access to mifepristone for generations to come.” 

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. Medication abortion has been recognized for decades as exceedingly safe and effective — so safe that it presents a lower risk of serious complications than taking Tylenol, having a wisdom tooth removed, using Viagra, or getting a colonoscopy. 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 a portion of the district court’s order and imposing unnecessary restrictions on 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 a manufacturer 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.

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