Lawmakers and Advocates Blast Texas Judge’s Ruling Restricting Abortion Pill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2023
Erin Hart, Communications Director
In a press conference today, lawmakers from Minnesota’s Reproductive Freedom Caucus and advocates from Gender Justice and UnRestrict Minnesota blasted a Texas court ruling rescinding the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, one of the medications used in the majority of medication abortions in the United States.
The ruling came late last Friday in the case known as Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA) — while in a separate, conflicting ruling, a federal judge in Washington state blocked the FDA from altering the status quo and rights regarding mifepristone’s availability. The conflicting court rulings spell confusion and uncertainty for doctors and patients — and could end up severely restricting access to the drug even in states, like Minnesota, where abortion rights and access are protected under law.
“Abortion rights and access have been under sustained assault for decades by an extremist minority that seeks to end safe and legal abortion for everyone, everywhere, without exception, at any cost,” said Megan Peterson, Executive Director of Gender Justice.
“With a single decision invalidating the FDA’s approval of a medication widely used to end first-trimester pregnancies safely, effectively, and on patients’ own terms, this judge has reached across state lines and brought the abortion access crisis to Minnesota and every other state that still protects people’s rights and access to abortion care under law.”
In Minnesota, over half of the state’s abortion patients rely on mifepristone and misoprostol for a safe and effective abortion procedure within the first 11 weeks of pregnancy.
The Texas ruling threatens Minnesota’s constitutional protections for reproductive healthcare access and the PRO Act, forming part of anti-abortion activists’ strategy to ban abortion. The decision reveals anti-abortion activists’ goal of ending safe and legal abortion without exception and across state lines. Lawmakers must protect citizens’ rights and access to care by repealing Minnesota laws that threaten reproductive healthcare access.
“The Texas judge’s invocation of Comstock laws — originally passed in the 1800s to ban contraceptives — illustrates the breathtaking scope of the power he seeks to grant the opponents of reproductive freedom over the reproductive health care and decisions of everyone across the US,” Peterson said.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the effect of this, if it is allowed to stand, would be to turn back the clock on reproductive rights and law by more than a century — and it should be thoroughly unacceptable to anyone and everyone who values the personal freedom and individual rights that are supposed to be the bedrock of American society.”
Abena Abraham, Campaign Director for UnRestrict Minnesota, emphasized the need for lawmakers to take action:
“This breaking news highlights the ongoing battle over abortion rights in the United States and the importance of continued action by Minnesota’s first pro-reproductive freedom majority elected last year. Anti-abortion activists will not stop their campaign to end abortion nationwide, at any cost. Their tactics violate our health, freedom, and privacy and continued action is needed to protect our constitutional rights in Minnesota from extremists in other states.”
In addition to passing the PRO Act, Minnesota lawmakers are advancing legislation that repeals many of the restricts on abortion ruled unconstitutional in the Reproductive Freedom Codification Act, as well as protections for patients and providers against legal action driven by anti-abortion extremists in other states as part of the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act.
“We can no longer ignore the alarm bells ringing loud and clear regarding the ultimate goals of the anti-abortion extremists advancing bad law and legislation aimed at ending safe and legal abortion across the US,” said Peterson.
“We are calling on the champions of reproductive freedom in our legislature to act now to protect our citizens and health care providers against the attacks of anti-abortion extremists in Minnesota and from out of state, and to repeal the Minnesota laws that threaten reproductive health care access for everyone.”
Senator Lindsey Port and Representative Kaohly Her, co-chairs of the Reproductive Freedom Caucus, also spoke at the press conference reiterating the commitment of Minnesota’s first pro-reproductive freedom majority to protecting the health, freedom, and privacy of Minnesotans and all who travel to our state for seeking care.