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August 16, 2023

Pressley Statement on Fifth Circuit Ruling on Mifepristone

Despite Ruling, Mifepristone Remains Safe, Effective, and Broadly Available

BOSTON Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Chair of the Pro Choice Caucus’ Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, issued the following statement on the Fifth Circuit Court decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA.

“The Fifth Circuit got it wrong today. Mifepristone is safe, effective, and access to it is essential to our reproductive freedom. Abortion care is health care and a fundamental human right – and that includes medication abortion.

“Let me be clear: today mifepristone is still broadly available despite this ruling. But if this ruling is allowed to go into effect, medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone would be imposed and our most vulnerable communities – Black, brown, AAPI, Indigenous, disabled, LGBTQ+ folks, and more – will suffer devastating consequences. The Supreme Court should affirm the FDA’s clear authority to review and approve medications. This is not the role of the courts and this is clearly an attempt to deny folks necessary abortion care.

“While the status quo remains in place for now, this ruling is a reminder that far-right extremist judges and anti-choice politicians are continuing their relentless attacks on our bodily autonomy, and we must use every tool available to fight back. Congress must immediately pass necessary legislation including my Abortion Justice Act to expand and strengthen abortion access. We need abortion justice now, and this fight is far from finished.”

Rep. Pressley, lead sponsor of the Abortion Justice Act and 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.

Rep. Pressley, along with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Ami Bera (CA-06), is the lead sponsor of the Affordability is Access Act, legislation to ensure that once the FDA determined an over-the-counter birth control option to be safe, insurers fully cover over-the-counter birth control without any fees or out-of-pocket costs.

Last month, Rep. Pressley applauded the FDA’s approval of over-the-counter birth control. In May, she applauded the FDA Advisory Committee’s unanimous, 17-0 vote to approve the first-ever application for over-the-counter birth control.

Rep. Pressley issued a statement in April 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. She later joined Governor Maura Healey, Senator Elizabth Warren (D-MA), and local leaders in announcing action to protect Mifepristone in Massachusetts.