In full transparency, the following is a press release from Reproductive Equity Now submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – Reproductive Equity Now President Rebecca Hart Holder released the following statement today after Northern District Court of Texas Judge Matthew Kacsymryk ruled in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stay, or halt, the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, the first drug used in a two-drug medication abortion regimen.
The Texas judge’s decision also invokes the Comstock Act and makes it a federal crime to mail medications used for abortion.
The Comstock Act, passed in 1873, has never been enforced as it relates to abortion care, but could open up litigation to restrict access to other reproductive health care. The ruling states it will go into effect in seven days.
Simultaneously, a federal district judge in Washington State issued a conflicting order preventing the FDA from altering the availability of mifepristone. The FDA is now under competing federal court orders regarding mifepristone approvals.
Medication abortion is safe, effective, and accounts for nearly 50 percent of abortions in Massachusetts and more than 50 percent of abortions nationwide. A two-drug medication abortion regimen is the gold standard for medication abortion care.
“Today a far-right, anti-abortion judge—two thousand miles away in Amarillo, Texas—ruled with anti-abortion extremists to usurp the will of the people and restrict medication abortion access nationwide. We want to be clear: Judge Kacsymryk’s decision has no basis in science, medicine, or justice. The decision is a result-driven, politically-motivated legal charade intended to ban abortion nationwide.
“In the wake of the Dobbs decision, Massachusetts made it clear that it will continue to be a place where reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy stand tall, and a state where people can come to access protected, compassionate abortion care. Yet today, a judge in Texas has reached across our borders to challenge our Commonwealth’s core values. While care in Massachusetts could be significantly impacted by today’s decision, and chaos and confusion is the point for these anti-abortion extremists, abortion remains legal in our state.
“Mifepristone is a safe and effective drug that has been used to help end pregnancy more than four million times in our country since the FDA approved the medication over 23 years ago. Data and facts clearly support the use of mifepristone, which is also used for miscarriage management, among other medical uses. The withdrawal of FDA approval for mifepristone will have wide-reaching impacts on health care beyond abortion care, and set a horrifying precedent for the approval of essential, life-saving medications in our country.
“This overstep of judicial authority points clearly to the unraveling of American democracy and the integrity of our judicial system. Anti-abortion extremists handpicked Judge Kacsymryk to hear this case, knowing his long record of anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-human rights decisions and statements. The anti-abortion movement is using the courts to push their far-right agenda, and we know this is not the end of their crusade. They will come for contraception access, for transgender health care, for the overturn of LGBTQ+ marriage, and for a national abortion ban next. We cannot be complacent in the face of injustice and we cannot normalize these abortion bans.”
Mifepristone has been approved by the FDA since 2000 and has since been used more than four million times across the country.
Providers, patients, and helpers seeking legal advice on their rights to access or provide abortion care can call the Abortion Legal Hotline at (833) 309-6301 to be connected with pro bono attorneys. People seeking abortion care in New England can visit Reproductive Equity Now’s New England Abortion Care Guide to find abortion providers near them.