Mifepristone is vital for bodily autonomy and self-managed abortions. Here’s our take on the recent court ruling.

Last week, a three-judge panel from the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a dangerous ruling upholding completely baseless and medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone access, seeking to roll back the FDA’s approval of the well-researched medication. This medication has been safely used for abortion care and miscarriage management for over 20 years, and is used in over 90 countries around the world. This decision is outrageous, and places political agendas and denial of bodily autonomy over scientific and medical expertise, and most importantly, the health and well-being of people seeking abortion care. 

The facts: 

  • Mifepristone remains 100% legal and accessible at this time. A previous stay by the U.S. Supreme Court means this ruling won’t go into effect right away.

  • The pills will remain on the market in states where abortion is legal and available by telemedicine and mail for the time being.

  • This ruling criminalizes the self-managed use of a safe and effective medication, and will ultimately harm Black and working class communities across the South. 

By attempting to reinstate the FDA’s outdated regulations on this medication, the judges’ decision would abruptly disrupt access to medication abortion nationwide, which is the most common abortion method within the U.S.. Patients would be forced to rely on obtaining mifepristone only through clinics and doctors’ offices; this is especially burdensome and often completely inaccessible for those living in rural and impoverished communities, where people are already faced with a multitude of barriers causing a lack of access to care. The impact would be acutely felt in the South, where we serve communities already facing layers of reproductive deserts, abortion bans, and medical apartheid. This ruling jeopardizes patients’ health, human rights, and bodily autonomy, forcing them into more invasive procedures or continued unwanted pregnancies.

Restrictions on mifepristone are not about “health and safety.” They are about controlling our bodies and lives. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit presides over Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana — all Southern states embattled with attempts to strip the rights, history, and state protections away from Black people, TLGBQ communities, immigrants, and birthing people. As a Southern reproductive justice organization grounded in Black radical traditions, we know firsthand how these measures widen class and race inequality, rob communities of power, and influence the politics of the entire country. 

Now is the time for continued collective action, and fortified community building. We must unite to defend evidence-based and necessary reproductive care and abortion access across the South, because we know that no U.S. court should decide if, when, how, and under what circumstances individuals carry a pregnancy to term. ARC-Southeast remains committed to supporting our communities through this injustice, and we understand that it is through material solidarity and mutual aid, not relying on the U.S. capitalist state, that we will make reproductive justice a reality!

This news is meant to worry and confuse people, but don’t worry — support still exists. If you or someone you know is looking for more information and resources regarding mifepristone, check out these organizations:

      • Home of the Repro Legal Defense Fund, If/How/When provides legal and financial support, and fund strong defenses so courts and cops stay out of our reproductive lives.
      • A research and policy organization that tracks reproductive policy updates, including up-to-date and accurate information on medication abortion laws and regulation.
      • The first comprehensive, regularly updated, and personalized resource for abortion seekers in the U.S., ineedana.com provides information on all of your abortion options — including closest abortion providers, pills-by-mail options for every state, and support organizations.
    • Sign up for our Reproductive Justice Newsletter, where we send weekly roundups of the most important reproductive-related news, updates, and resources directly to your email. 


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