(delivered instantly or on a specific date of your choosing)
(delivered within 2 - 3 weeks)

Q&A with Planned Parenthood about the Mifepristone lawsuit

For now, mifepristone remains available and its access is secure in states where abortion is still legal. If you or someone you know is pregnant and seeking an abortion, go to AbortionFinder.org now to learn about your options.

We know you have questions about the ongoing lawsuit, so our lawyers put together a Q&A to address your pressing questions, like:

  • Why is this lawsuit happening?
  • How will it affect access to abortion?
  • And what's the next step to protect access to care?

Read our answers below to learn more about the mifepristone lawsuit.

What's happening since the Supreme Court issued a stay in this case?

For now, mifepristone remains available and its access is secure in states where abortion is still legal. The stay the Supreme Court entered on April 21 is in place while the government's appeal process proceeds. Right now that appeal is in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear arguments today, Wednesday, May 17.

Today is just arguments, but after the 5th Circuit rules, there will likely be a request for the Supreme Court to take the case. The stay will remain in effect until either the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, or decides to hear it and rule on the case. The latter could take some time.

If it stands, does this ruling mean judges might decide on the use of other researched and approved drugs? For example, could drugs, like birth control, be next?

Yes, this ruling puts all FDA-approved drugs and products at risk. And that is one of the many troubling aspects of this case. For the first time ever, a court is being asked to second-guess and reverse the FDA's determination that a drug is safe and effective based on false claims about the drug's safety. Such a ruling would undermine the authority of the FDA — the experts responsible for deciding drug safety in the U.S. since 1916. And it would threaten access to other drugs and products regulated by the FDA, which people rely on.

Are there mifepristone cases in other states?

Yes, several other cases about mifepristone are happening right now, and there will be further developments in them in the future. For example, there is a case in federal court in Washington state filed by the attorneys general of 17 states and Washington, DC challenging medically unnecessary restrictions that still exist for mifepristone. In that case, the FDA was ordered not to take any actions that might affect mifepristone's approval in those 18 jurisdictions.

In addition, cases in West Virginia and North Carolina challenge state laws that restrict access to mifepristone. Both cases argue that the FDA's approval of mifepristone means that those states cannot enforce their more restrictive laws. The cases are in their early stages, but a victory in those cases would provide critical relief to people who need abortion care in those states and we are keeping an eye on them.

Would a mifepristone ban affect the entire country? Or just the states that have abortion bans in place?

Even though the suit has been filed in a Texas federal court, the ruling in that case could affect access to the medicine across all 50 states — even those states where abortion is legal. That would mean that one of the drugs used in the most common method of abortion in this country — mifepristone — would either become unavailable or restricted.

Who has the most authority in this case, the FDA or the Supreme Court? Or someone else?

In some ways, that question lies at the heart of this case. Congress has given the FDA the authority to determine which drugs are safe and should be on the market. If the courts can overrule the FDA's approval of a medication because they disagree with the FDA's findings, our nation's system of drug approval will be at risk. This point was made well in “friend of the court” briefs by FDA scholars, former FDA officials, pharmaceutical executives and so many more.

Could the FDA just turn around and re-approve mifepristone?

We don't know yet what will happen at the end of this case or what options will remain for preserving access. But we know that the providers and the manufacturers will do everything they can to maintain and restore access to people who need care.

How will someone who needs a medication abortion after this decision get one?

Again, we don't know yet what will happen at the end of this case or what options will remain, but we know that providers will do what they can. At Planned Parenthood, patients are the highest priority. And Planned Parenthood health centers will always be here to provide sexual and reproductive health services and resources, where that care is legal under state law.

How can the Biden-Harris administration STOP attacks on abortion rights?

Unfortunately, what the administration can do is limited; they cannot fix this problem on their own. Ending the attacks on abortion will require significant action at every level of government — including reforming our democratic institutions, as well as culture change. That said, the Biden-Harris administration has taken actions within its power to mitigate the harm of this crisis. Those actions include issuing multiple executive orders to protect access to care, relaxing restrictions on medication abortion and defending access in the courts, challenging harmful state laws and policies in court, taking steps to protect people's reproductive privacy, and more.

Are there any consequences in place for runaway judges?

Right now, the courts and justices have a lot of power — and rebalancing power will require action by Congress. Structural, systemic, and meaningful court reform is the only way to ensure that courts uphold the law and protect our rights. Planned Parenthood is calling for policy solutions like expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court (and adding term limits), imposing ethics and transparency requirements for justices, adding more seats for judges on lower courts, and more.

Could upcoming elections affect abortion access?

Yes, depending on where you live, abortion access could be directly on the ballot in the next few years. In 2022, people in several states had the chance to vote on abortion-related ballot initiatives – and reproductive freedom won every time. Looking ahead, voters in many states will see ballot initiatives about protecting abortion access. Voters in Maryland and New York, for example, will be asked to vote on constitutional amendments that enshrine abortion rights.

Charity Navigator Four Star Charity Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity

About your Gift