Today, in a major setback for abortion access since the overruling of Roe v. Wade, a federal court in Texas blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Mifepristone, one of two medications commonly used in medication abortion care in the United States. First approved more than 20 years ago, this decision, if allowed to go into effect, would make Mifepristone unavailable to patients across the country, despite its safety record. Although abortion is illegal in Texas, the court’s ruling would block Mifepristone’s use even in states with legal abortion.
In the case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk took unprecedented action to block FDA approval of Mifepristone. The court delayed the effective date of its ruling for seven days, allowing for an emergency appeal. Unless the ruling takes effect, FDA approval remains in place and providers will be able to continue its use.
In response to today’s ruling, PPGP will continue to offer medication abortion using Mifepristone as part of a two-drug regimen at its Kansas health centers and will monitor for any changes in the case that could impact abortion services.
Statement from Emily Wales, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains:
"This decision is an extremely disappointing – if unsurprising – outcome in a politically motivated lawsuit, but it will not stop us from providing care including medication abortion. Let me be clear: while we continue to understand the implications of this ruling and its potential future impact, we will provide the same essential, expert health care we do every day at Planned Parenthood Great Plains. We know anti-abortion extremists' intent has always been to keep people from making their own health care decisions including the choice to access a medication that’s safer than many over-the-counter drugs. But the reality is that safety and efficacy are not at the heart of this conversation about health care and never have been. In the face of these continued attacks, we will do what we’ve always done – keep our doors open to all.”
Statement from Dr. Iman Alsaden, chief medical officer, Planned Parenthood Great Plains:
“Today, I must once again reassure my patients that they are entitled to receive the health care they deserve, despite another attempt to further limit rights. Planned Parenthood Great Plains will continue to offer Mifepristone as part of our medication abortion services unless it becomes illegal for us to do so, but there is still very real damage to patients from this misleading and political ruling. No other type of medicine is forced to constantly shift the way it’s practiced or respond to wholly inaccurate claims about safety because of a vocal, extreme anti-abortion minority that is more concerned with exerting control over people’s lives and futures than understanding science. We won’t stop providing for our patients and will continue to ensure they can access medication abortion with as few barriers as possible. But that does not diminish the already unnecessary burdens many of our patients continue to overcome to reach us for essential health care.”
Since the overruling of Roe, health centers in Kansas have worked to meet an overwhelming need for patients throughout the region who immediately lost abortion access in their home states, including Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
During this time, PPGP has expanded its footprint and services across the four-state region including launching telehealth medication abortion care in Kansas in an effort to increase appointment availability. This announcement followed a recent court ruling allowing doctors to provide medication abortions via telemedicine.
PPGP also celebrated its expansion into Southwest Oklahoma with the opening of a new health center in Lawton. The Lawton location brings access to reproductive health care much closer to home for patients in a part of the state where there is an identified need for sexual health. The clinic started seeing patients for a wide range of services including birth control, STI and HIV testing and treatment, emergency contraception (morning-after pill), pregnancy testing and services, and general wellness care.