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Attorney General Nessel Releases Statement on Dual Decisions Around Mifepristone

LANSING – This evening, Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend its decades-old approval of mifepristone for use in medication abortion. Shortly thereafter, Judge Thomas O. Rice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington ruled to order the FDA to maintain the status quo and permit continued use of the drug. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement in response: 

“I am deeply disappointed that Judge Kacsmaryk has decided in favor of those who would harm women by exacerbating our nation’s reproductive healthcare crisis, the stakes of which have only escalated in the aftermath of the fall of Roe. The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine has acted in opposition to the oath which is their namesake: to first do no harm. Furthermore, this organization, seeking the nationwide destruction of the stability of care for millions of women throughout the country, was established specifically to forum shop, ensuring the case would be assigned to a judge whose staunch opposition to reproductive freedoms is a matter of public record. 

The clear shame and cowardice of this lone Texan judge, to issue his ruling well into the evening of Good Friday, speaks volumes about the integrity he assigned his judgment. This ruling, while an obvious judicial embarrassment, was cruelly timed for a moment when the government and good faith public servants would be at a disadvantage to respond in defense of the constitutional rights of all American women.  

The way the courts are supposed to work, in the architecture of our judiciary, seismic, tumultuous change such as this, affecting the people across the entire nation, is not meant to fall to the judgment of one singular arbiter. The Supreme Court, where matters concerning decades of precedent ought be decided is notably nine jurists. These types of decisions were never meant to be made the way this ruling came from Northern Texas tonight. 

The FDA should – consistent with Judge Rice’s order – continue, as it has for more than 20 years, to maintain its approval of the manufacture and prescription of this medication so many women rely upon for their healthcare. The current landscape, tonight, is an effective stalemate for the FDA, and until a higher court intervenes and settles the direction of healthcare and bodily autonomy in this country, the status quo must remain, and the hard-fought rights of women should remain unassailed. 

The alternative, to allow the Texas ruling to prevail, would be devastating to the 24.5 million women of reproductive age who live in states with abortion bans and who would soon lose one of their final lifelines to reproductive healthcare: access to mifepristone. Women in need could soon be forced to seek riskier, more invasive abortion and miscarriage care in clinics that are, in many cases, hundreds of miles from their homes. This added burden would undoubtedly fracture along lines of socioeconomic disparity, impairing access to this care for those who may require it most desperately.  

Michigan residents turned out in droves last November to enshrine the right to abortion in our state constitution. We were repeatedly told that it should be an issue of state’s rights, and so we made our voices heard. Now all of that effort could be upended by the whims of a single jurist, who sees fit in his authority to reach into the free state of Michigan and eviscerate access to the safe, reliable, medication that enables over half of all abortions and with a better safety record than some of the most used and known prescription drugs in the country. Michigan will remain a safe haven for women in our region whose home state access to reproductive healthcare has been curbed by this ruling. As always, my Department’s top priority will be to safeguard the health, safety, and wellbeing of the residents of our state." 

Please review the materials provided by the Michigan Department of Attorney General for more information on the ongoing litigation which could affect the legality of abortion medication in our state and across the country.


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