Updated May 2023: This case is tied up in the courts and on hold for now. So both mifepristone and misoprostol remain legal in states where abortion is still legal.
In an yet another attack on abortion care, a federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of anti-abortion organizations suing the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The lawsuit challenges the FDA’s approval of mifepristone — also known as mife, one of two drugs used in medication abortions. This means that mife could no longer be available to people who need abortions. The ruling won’t just apply to patients in Texas, but to people in every state in the nation.
Mife has been approved by the FDA for more than 20 years, and has been used by more than 5 million people in the U.S. to safely end their early pregnancies. This lawsuit is not about the safety of a pill — it’s a political attack on people’s ability to control their own bodies and lives, and will affect people across the country.
The court’s ruling in this case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, won’t end medication abortion. In states where abortion is legal, medication abortions are still a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy. The supportive, expert staff at Planned Parenthood health centers are dedicated to providing the education and health care patients need, including abortion. Contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center to learn more and book an appointment or a virtual visit.
What this lawsuit is really about
This case is about controlling the medical decisions of women, and trans and nonbinary people. Not satisfied with ending the federal right to an abortion in June 2022, a group of anti-abortion activists and organizations asked the court to order the FDA to end its 22-year approval of mife. The judge ruled in their favor, and if his decision is upheld, mife will no longer be available — even in states where abortion is legal.
This case is not about safety.
- Medication abortion is safer than other common medicines like penicillin, Tylenol, and Viagra.
- Medication abortion has a strong safety record — serious complications happen in less than ⅓ of 1% of cases, whether a patient gets their abortion pills in person, at a doctor’s office, or remotely through a virtual visit.
- In 2021, more than half of all documented abortions were medication abortions.
Medication abortions are safe and available where abortion is legal.
Lots of people refer to medication abortions as the abortion pill, although medication abortion in the U.S. most commonly involves taking two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. Both drugs are safe and effective and have been used for decades by millions of people to end early pregnancies. If mifepristone is taken off the market, misoprostol will still be available as an option to end an early pregnancy.
Misoprostol by itself is a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy. Reach out to your local Planned Parenthood to talk about your options and what kind of care is best for you.
Medication abortions without mifepristone are common around the world.
In the U.S. most people have relied on a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol for medication abortions. But for decades, all around the world, many people have used just misoprostol to safely end early pregnancies when mifepristone isn’t available.
Misoprostol works on its own to empty your uterus. Visit your nearest Planned Parenthood health center to discuss your options. And get fast facts on misoprostol-only medication abortion.
A few facts about misoprostol:
Misoprostol is, on its own, a safe way to end an early pregnancy.
Respected medical organizations like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ipas, and the World Health Organization agree that misoprostol-only abortions are a safe alternative if mifepristone isn’t available.
- Using misoprostol pills to have an abortion is legal in states where abortion is legal.
- Misoprostol has been around for more than 30 years. Besides abortion, misoprostol has other medical uses — like miscarriage management and preventing and treating ulcers.
Planned Parenthood health centers are here for you.
Planned Parenthood health care professionals will do everything we can to make sure you can get abortion care, where it's legal. Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to learn more about your options.