In full transparency, the following is a press release from Reproductive Equity Now.
BOSTON – Reproductive Equity Now President Rebecca Hart Holder released the following statement today after a federal appeals court late Wednesday night froze parts of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling to halt FDA approval of mifepristone, but reinstated medically unnecessary, pre-2016 restrictions on medication abortion care.
As part of those restrictions, the appeals court ruled to:
- Revert to mandatory in-person dispensing for mifepristone
- Revert to a pre-2016 approval for mifepristone that permits usage of the medication up to seven weeks gestation, instead of 10 weeks
- Require three in-person office visits
“The decision out of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate pre-2016, medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone is an abortion ban. The Court’s ruling to revert to an out-of-date FDA approval stands in direct opposition to extensive scientific data and a rigorous regulatory process. This is yet another ideological decision from the bench, not based in fact or science, that could have devastating impacts on abortion access in all 50 states,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, President of Reproductive Equity Now. “We want to be clear: We will not normalize this abortion ban. Anti-abortion extremists are not stopping here, and the continued invocation of the Comstock Act sets a horrifying precedent for their next steps to ban abortion nationwide. We will not allow anti-abortion extremists to reach across our borders and restrict access to care in Massachusetts. We will continue fighting to ensure mifepristone remains available and accessible throughout our Commonwealth.”
The appeals court’s decision purports to reinstate a medically unnecessary seven-week gestational limit and hamper telemedicine access to mifepristone by reinstating in-person dispensing requirements. This would result in additional trips to the clinic for patients, disproportionately restricting access to care for both rural and low-income communities, who may not be able to afford to take time off of work or find child care in order to travel to a clinic.
While the ruling reinstates a seven-week gestational limit for mifepristone, Massachusetts state law does not prohibit off-label prescribing of FDA-approved drugs. Providers who have questions about the continued use of mifepristone in Massachusetts can call the Massachusetts Abortion Legal Hotline at (833) 309-6301.