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April 10, 2023

Pressley Joins Healey, Warren, Local Leaders Announcing Action to Protect Mifepristone Access in Massachusetts

“We will out organize, we will out work, we will out legislate their hate… Damn it is good to have leadership in the corner office.”

Prior to Texas Ruling, Pressley Successfully Urged FDA to Expand Mifepristone Access Federally

Video (YouTube)

BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’ Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, joined Massachusetts Governor Maura T. Healey, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, Attorney General Andrea Campbell, local leaders and advocates to announce the Governor’s plan to protect access to mifepristone in Massachusetts following a federal court ruling that blocked the FDA’s approval of the abortion medication drug that has been used safely and effectively for decades. Full video of the press conference and Rep. Pressley’s remarks is available here.

At the Governor’s request, the University of Massachusetts and health care providers have taken action to stockpile doses of mifepristone, and the Governor is issuing an Executive Order that clarifies protections for medication abortion under existing state law.

“This unprecedented attack on our bodily autonomy demands bold leadership, at every level of government, that meets the moment and we must use every tool available to protect our fundamental right to abortion care,” said Rep. Pressley. “Governor Healey’s plan to protect mifepristone access in Massachusetts is exactly the type of proactive leadership this moment calls for, and will go a long way to keeping this routine form of health care available to Massachusetts residents. As we continue fighting federally to affirm abortion care as the human right that it is, I’m grateful to Governor Healey, Lt. Governor Driscoll, Attorney General Campbell, and our colleagues for their partnership.”

“Medication abortion is safe, effective and legal. Mifepristone has been used safely for more than 20 years and is the gold standard. Here in Massachusetts, we are not going to let one extremist judge in Texas turn back the clock on this proven medication and restrict access to care in our state,” said Governor Healey. “The action we are taking today protects access to mifepristone in Massachusetts and protects patients, providers and pharmacists from liability. In Massachusetts, we stand for civil rights and freedom. We will always protect access to reproductive health care, including medication abortion.” 

“Our administration is grateful for the partnership of UMass and health care providers across the state who readily agreed to take this urgent action to protect access to care,” said Lieutenant Governor Kimberley Driscoll. “We’re also grateful for the hard work of legislators, advocates and the public health community who rallied to pass protections after the Dobbs decision last year. These efforts ensured we had the option to take this meaningful action to protect access to medication abortion.” 

At Governor Healey’s request, the University of Massachusetts Amherst last week purchased approximately 15,000 doses of mifepristone to ensure sufficient coverage in the Commonwealth for one year. The doses are expected to arrive this week. Health care providers in Massachusetts have also agreed to purchase additional quantities to make available for patients.

Additionally, Governor Healey is issuing an Executive Order clarifying that the 2022 Shield Law should be interpreted as protecting access to medication abortion, including mifepristone. This will ensure that pharmacists and providers can continue to stock and dispense mifepristone and will protect providers and patients from consequences for accessing this essential care. The Executive Order also instructs the Department of Public Health and Department of Insurance to issue guidance to help implement the order and requires the Department of Public Health to provide support to public universities and colleges to expedite development and implementation of their medication abortion readiness plans. 

In addition to abortion care, mifepristone is also used for miscarriage management, to treat lupus, and to reduce the risk of ulcers, among many other medical uses. 

Rep. Pressley issued a statement Friday condemning the Texas court ruling on mifepristone, and discussed the Texas case in a recent floor speech in which she affirmed medication abortion as routine medical care and access to mifepristone as essential.

Rep. Pressley, a lead co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, has led calls in Congress for the FDA to remove medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone, and applauded the FDA’s action in January 2023 to allow retail pharmacies to dispense abortion medication pills.