MONTPELIER, Vt. – Attorney General Charity Clark today joined a multistate coalition to challenge the decision issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas that could restrict medication abortion access nationwide.
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The amicus brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, urges the court to stay pending appeal of the district court’s ruling, which if allowed to take effect would halt the over two-decades old approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the medication abortion drug mifepristone.
Attorney General Clark and the coalition of 24 attorneys general warn that revoking federal approval for mifepristone will drastically reduce access to safe abortion care and miscarriage management for millions of people across the country, endangering lives, and trampling states’ authority to protect and promote access to abortion.
Today’s multistate filing is the latest action taken by Attorney General Clark to protect access to medication abortions. In February, Attorney General Clark sued the FDA to preserve the availability of safe, effective medication abortion.
On Friday, a federal district court judge in Washington State issued a preliminary injunction in the case brought by her office and other attorneys general directing the FDA to preserve the status quo regarding the availability of mifepristone in those states.
“For the past 22 years, mifepristone has been a safe, legal, and effective treatment for Vermonters seeking abortion and miscarriage care,” said Attorney General Clark. “Blocking the FDA’s approval of mifepristone would undermine Vermont’s constitutional guarantee of reproductive autonomy.
Let me be clear: As Attorney General, I will never stop fighting for our right to control our own bodies.”
This ruling comes from a challenge brought by anti-abortion groups seeking to revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. On April 7, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stay its approval of mifepristone, which happened in 2000.
The court’s order does not take effect immediately, as the district court put its ruling on hold for seven days to give the federal government and the drug manufacturer an opportunity to appeal.
Attorney General Clark and the coalition are urging the appeals court to continue to stay the lower court’s unprecedented and legally erroneous decision pending the appeal, given the decades of clinical research and studies that have confirmed mifepristone’s safety and the critical role medication abortion plays in reproductive health care, particularly in low-income, underserved, and rural communities.
The coalition notes that if the lower court decision takes effect, it could drastically curtail abortion access for millions of Americans. According to current estimates, medication abortion accounts for over half, approximately 54 percent, of all abortions performed in the United States.
Obstructing access to mifepristone would significantly increase demand for procedural abortions, potentially resulting in later and more risky procedures, and more complicated and costly logistics for many patients, especially those where procedural abortion is unavailable. Moreover, lack of access to safe abortion care leads to worsened health outcomes and higher mortality, especially for Black women.
Joining Attorney General Clark in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.