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August 19, 2021

Pressley, Maloney, DeGette, Lee, and Pressley Announce Resolution in Support of Equitable, Science-based Access to Medication Abortion Care

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force and Oversight & Reform Committee member; Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; Rep. Diana DeGette, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus; and Rep. Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus announced a resolution in support of equitable, science-based policies governing access to medication abortion care.

“For far too long, the FDA’s medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone has prevented folks from accessing safe and effective medication abortion care,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “Our resolution affirms Congress‘s support for just, safe and science-based medication abortion policies. This is a crucial moment for action, and if we’re serious about affirming health care as the human right that it is, then we must ensure equitable access to care.” 

“I am proud to lead my colleagues in expressing Congress’ unequivocal support for equitable and science-based medication abortion care policies,” said Chairwoman Maloney.  “Mifepristone is extremely safe—the FDA’s own data confirms this.  It’s time that we trust the science and ensure access to safe, legal abortion, particularly for communities where abortion care has been historically pushed out of reach.  I’ve spent years in Congress advocating for equitable access to reproductive health care, and I plan to continue this fight until everyone can freely exercise their right to access abortion—including medication abortion.”

“Abortion pills have proven to be both safe and effective, yet needless restrictions are making it harder for women to access the care they need,” said Rep. DeGette.  “As co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, we are committed to eliminating all unnecessary barriers to abortion care, including the onerous and unnecessary restrictions on the use of medication abortion.  We look forward to working with the FDA to ensure any policies regarding the use of mifepristone are based solely on science and evidence, not politics or ideology.”

“There is no reason for the FDA to impose unnecessary restrictions on the medication abortion drug mifepristone – a safe and effective form of medication abortion care,” said Rep. Lee.  “For people already experiencing health disparities—including people of color, people with lower incomes, and people in rural communities—the FDA’s restrictions often push access to medication abortion out of reach.  We cannot allow discriminatory stigma to keep people from accessing the health care they deserve.  As Pro-Choice Caucus Co-chair, I remain committed to eliminating any and all hurdles for people to access safe abortion care.”

More than seventy House Democrats joined the Members as original cosponsors of their resolution.  This resolution is endorsed by more than forty medical, reproductive rights, reproductive justice, and legal advocacy organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Expand Medication Abortion Access Project, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, In Our Own Voice:  National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, SisterReach, SisterLove, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, and Physicians for Reproductive Health.

The resolution follows numerous actions by the Members to ensure access to mifepristone.  On February 9, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Pressley led all Democratic Oversight Committee congresswomen in sending a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone.  Later that month, they published an op-ed in ELLE explaining the urgent need for such an action. 

On February 12, 2021, Reps. Pressley, DeGette and Lee led a bicameral group of more than 140 Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in ACOG v. FDAI, challenging the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus public health emergency.

On April 13, 2021, FDA announced that it would temporarily lift the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone for the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency.  Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Pressley commended FDA’s decision and urged the agency to permanently eliminate the requirement.

In May 2021, FDA announced that it would conduct an evidence-based review of the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone.  Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Pressley applauded this necessary step and called on FDA to permanently lift this requirement.

As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Congresswoman Pressley has fought tirelessly to protect comprehensive reproductive health care for all, including abortion care.

  • Over the course of her first term serving in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has filed amendments every year to repeal the Hyde Amendment from annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills and in July of 2020 published a Medium post on the importance of doing so.
  • In May, she commended President Biden for eliminating Hyde in his FY22 presidential budget proposal and last month, she was instrumental in  the House’s work to advance funding bills that eliminated Hyde for the first time in over four decades.
  • In April, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswomen Barbara Lee (CA-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), led a group of 131 Democratic members in reintroducing the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act or the EACH Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that all people, regardless of income, insurance or zip code, can make personal reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.
  • In May 2020, she led more than 155 Members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access.

In September 2016, as a member of the Boston City Council, Pressley championed a resolution calling on Congress and President Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services.

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