Mifepristone still legal in PA, but US Supreme Court case gives advocates ‘grave concerns’

By Sean Kitchen

December 14, 2023

The US Supreme Court decided on Wednesday to take up a case that could restrict access to one of the country’s most popular abortion pills. Advocates want Pennsylvania residents to know the medicine is still legal. 

The US Supreme Court decided on Wednesday that it will take up the mifepristone case, FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, which would dramatically restrict access to one of the country’s most commonly used abortion pills.  

Reproductive rights advocates wanted to remind Pennsylvania residents that access to the medicine is still legal and that those seeking it should still talk to a health care provider. 

“We have grave concerns about pending Supreme Court action on access to mifepristone, one of the most common drugs prescribed for medication abortion,” said Signe Espinoza, the Executive Director with Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates. 

“This court has shown nothing but contempt for our right to essential, private medical care and have ruled as if they know more about our health and bodies than we do, or our doctors do. While we wait on their decision, there will be no change in access to mifepristone. Pennsylvanians should continue to seek the care they need with their trusted health care provider.”

FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is the first case seeking to further restrict abortion access since the Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2021. 

The case, which originated in Texas, began making its way through the courts in April 2023 when US District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, issued a hold on the federal approval of the popular abortion durg. 

The Keystone reported at the time that the Texas lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is a Christrian, conservative legal advocacy group that was involved in Dobbs v. Jackson, which eventually overturned Roe

The case went in front of a federal appeals court at the US 5th Circuit Court where a pair of right-wing justices partially blocked Kacsmaryk’s decision but still favored restricting access to the pill. 

Restrictions included limiting the drug’s approved use to the first seven weeks, which is before many women know that they are pregnant, preventing the medicine from being sent through the mail and it required patients to make three trips to their prodiver before they could obtain the medicine. 

The Biden Administration immediately appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. A decision by the Court can come by the end of June. 

 

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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