Roundtable hosted by Physicians for Reproductive Health and Abortion Care Network discussed how abortion providers and clinics are preparing for the lawsuit brought by anti-abortion advocates seeking to revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone – one of two medications used for medication abortion
(February 10, 2023) – Ahead of a decision in the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the FDA’s decades-old approval of mifepristone and eliminate a vital lifeline for abortion access, abortion providers from around the country came together to discuss the ruling’s implications for providers, clinics and patients. They also spoke about the communities most impacted by the decision and potentially implementing misoprostol-only protocols for medication abortion if mifepristone is restricted.
You can find quotes from the roundtable here:
Dr. Jamila Perritt, President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health said: “ A disruption to the supply of mifepristone will have devastating impacts on communities. If mifepristone is no longer accessible, even in states where abortion is legal, people will have to turn to a misoprostol only or procedural abortion care. No one should have their care decided for them. We know that the goal is and has always been to eliminate access to abortion. Disrupting abortion access, making it inaccessible, targeting, punishing, and penalizing people who have and people to do abortions is just one tactic in the wheelhouse of anti-abortion extremists. As they continue to chip away at our human right to agency and autonomy, I want to make sure that the public knows there are providers, advocates, and organizers in the community working day in and day out to keep showing up for people as they navigate these complicated and scary times.”
Leah Coplon, Director of Clinical Operations for Abortion on Demand said: “In light of the fact that we know, thanks to decades of irrefutable medical research, that both aspiration and medication abortions are safe, both of these options should be available to everyone. It is unjust to deny people healthcare options due to the whims and political machinations of those using junk science to control our bodies… Contrary to what the media and some politicians portray, for many people, decisions about whether or not to have an abortion are often quite simple, it is the logistics of obtaining and paying for the abortion that are often the bigger challenge. For some, the option of obtaining abortion meds via telehealth, having them mailed to your home, or someplace else safe, means the difference between being able to have an abortion or being forced to carry an undesired pregnancy.”
Ashley Brink, Clinic Director at Trust Women Kansas in Wichita said: “Our clinic parking lot overflows with lines of vehicles with varying license plates reading Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, and the occasional Kansas tag. We see weary patients who traveled through the night for hours on end to make it to their appointments, some by bus, others by plane, and many by long drives. And Kansas isn’t the only state where this is happening. One Monday, our clinic received over sixteen thousand incoming calls, with many patients calling several hundred times in a day to get through our lines to make an appointment… During a moment when we should be spending our time, efforts, and resources providing abortion care, we’ve been spending the last few weeks meeting with attorneys, updating policies and procedures, and holding staff trainings, all in preparation for this ruling and the potential impacts it could have. This is often what is expected of abortion providers; our work is constantly forced to change because of the decisions of politicians and, in this case, one person – a Trump-appointed judge who represents one district in Texas, making a decision that impacts the entire nation. One federal judge commandeering the entire federal government.”
Jenny Blasdell, Vice President of Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships at Physicians for Reproductive Health said: “Before his confirmation, Judge Kacsmaryk worked for the First Liberty Institute, where he fought against abortion, contraception, and LGBTQ rights. Since he joined the bench, Judge Kacsmaryk has issued anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-contraception opinions. Decisions from this court are appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, regarded as the most conservative appeals court in the country. The plaintiffs have asked the court to order the FDA to withdraw or suspend its approval of mifepristone as the case moves forward. If Judge Kacsmaryk rules in their favor, access to mifepristone could be blocked – not just in Texas, not just in states that have restricted abortion, but across the United States, preventing health care providers from using a safe medication for abortion and miscarriage care nationwide… Should Judge Kacsmaryk find for the plaintiffs and limit telehealth use or access to mifepristone, the effects will be profound. It is essential that people understand how medication abortion works, what patients experience, and how withdrawing access to a safe medication used throughout the world would affect people seeking and providing abortion care in the United States. ”
To request a recording of the call, please reach out to Hannah Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.