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Attorney General Josh Stein to U.S. Supreme Court: Protect Medication Abortion for Women

For Immediate Release:
Friday, April 14, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court of the United States to maintain approval for and access to the medication abortion drug mifepristone while a lower court case is appealed. If the Supreme Court doesn’t take this action, millions of women in the United States, particularly those in rural areas or without easy access to a health care provider, may lose access to medication abortion beginning Thursday, April 20.

“The decision about how to handle a pregnancy or miscarriage is deeply personal,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Each woman should make that decision for herself. Medication abortion is safe, effective, and has been used for more than two decades. I will defend women’s ability to continue to access it.”

The history of this case has been complicated. On April 7, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ordered the FDA to stay its 23-year approval of mifepristone. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstated the FDA’s approval of the drug, but left in place other parts of the district court’s ruling that would:

  • Halt FDA approval of the generic version of mifepristone, which makes up a large amount of the available medication.
  • Ban access to mifepristone by mail.
  • Require women who wish to use mifepristone to attend at least three in-person doctor’s appointments.
  • Block the ability of non-doctors to prescribe and dispense mifepristone.

The Supreme Court granted a temporary administrative stay of the district court’s ruling while it considers the FDA’s request.

According to current estimates, medication abortion makes up more than half of all abortions performed in the United States. If the appellate court decision takes effect, millions of people will struggle to access safe medication abortions. They may have to undergo riskier procedural abortions, which are often more complex and costly for patients.

Attorney General Stein is joined in filing this brief by the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief is available here.


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