Federal Court of Appeals Issues Decision To Severely Restrict Medication Abortion

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Mifeprex, or mifepristone, is a medication that temporarily thins the lining of the uterus, helping to terminate a pregnancy. ROBIN MARTY/FLICKR (CC BY 2.0)

Mifepristone remains available until U.S. Supreme Court weighs in, likely next year

CONCORD, NH – Today, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al, the baseless case challenging the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, a safe and effective drug used in over half of all U.S. abortions. The ruling sharply restricts abortion pill access nationwide – but it won’t take effect until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in, likely next year. 

For now, mifepristone remains safe, legal, and available throughout the country. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England health centers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont will continue to offer medication abortion using the mifepristone protocol until further notice.

For more information about this case and medication abortion, click here.

Statement from Nicole Clegg, Acting CEO, Planned Parenthood Northern New England: 

“Planned Parenthood of Northern New England continues to offer medication abortion to our patients. We have no plans to change our protocol at this time. 

Today’s ruling is the latest politically motivated attack on abortion access and reproductive health care. Anti-abortion extremists relied on junk science, cherry-picked judges to hear this case, and are intent on sowing chaos and confusion in this unprecedented assault on not only medication abortion but the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to approve medications of all kinds. 

Let’s be clear: The political actors behind this lawsuit are not concerned about patient needs or safety. They want to ban abortion, and they are using every tactic they can imagine to achieve their goal. Mifepristone is a safe, effective drug approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago, and the mifepristone/misoprostol medication abortion protocol has been the standard in the United States for years. 

Our country is in the middle of an abortion access crisis; 21 states have enacted bans or near total bans on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court revoked federal protections in June 2022. While Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have resisted attempts to restrict access, it is important to remember that if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling in this case, medication abortion access in every state in the country will be impacted, regardless of state laws. 

We remain committed to providing the safest, high-quality health care services to every patient who comes to us — no matter what.”  

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