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AG Nessel Takes Action to Protect Medication Abortion Access

LANSING – Last week, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a multistate coalition of 24 attorneys general to protect access to medication abortion nationwide. The coalition filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the efforts of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Danco Laboratories LLC, to reverse a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that reinstated certain restrictions on the medication known as mifepristone after the FDA had determined those restrictions were medically unnecessary. Because mifepristone is part of the two-drug regimen commonly prescribed for medication abortion care, AG Nessel and the coalition argue that the Fifth Circuit’s ruling reinstating medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone has dangerous consequences for reproductive health care outcomes, particularly for low-income and underserved communities.

“Research has proven that mifepristone is a safe, reliable, and noninvasive reproductive health care option for those who need it. If left intact, the Fifth Circuit's ruling would significantly impede women's access to medication abortion,” said Nessel. “When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, they remanded the decisions about abortion access back to the states. This is just one of the many attempts by anti-choice activists to restrict safe abortion care, even in states that upheld reproductive rights. I stand firmly with my colleagues in supporting the Food and Drug Administration and Danco Labs in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA.”

AG Nessel and the coalition urge the Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision to restrict how mifepristone can be prescribed and dispensed. The Fifth Circuit’s decision ignores decades of high-quality evidence and clinical research that shows mifepristone is safe and effective. The FDA’s decisions in 2016 and 2021 to approve a modified label and reform the conditions for prescribing and dispensing mifepristone were supported by robust safety data and decades of clinical experience.

If the Fifth Circuit’s decision is permitted to take effect, it could disrupt access to the most common method of abortion, harming countless Americans in need of medical care or pregnancy loss management, with widespread disruptions for the health care system. Among other things, the lower court decision could lead many individuals to undergo procedural abortion, drive up risks, costs, and delays, and deprive many Americans of access to reproductive healthcare altogether. The coalition further argues that the ruling would create widespread confusion among providers, distributors, and pharmacies, and radically destabilize the regulatory process for drug approvals, stifling scientific innovation and imperiling the development and availability of thousands of drugs nationwide.

Nessel has been an outspoken advocate for reproductive health since taking office in 2019. The Attorney General has joined in multi-state amicus briefs to support access to healthcare in Idaho and Indiana and has also joined coalitions seeking to preserve access to medication abortion nationwide.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, triggering Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban statute to go into effect, Nessel made it clear that she would not use the resources of her office to defend the statute, which criminalized abortion. She called for the repeal of the 1931 abortion law and in March of this year, the Michigan Legislature voted to do just that. Nessel also filed a brief in support of placing abortion access on the November 2022 ballot.

Most recently, AG Nessel filed a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Right to Life of Michigan and other plaintiffs, challenging the constitutionality of Article 1, § 28 of Michigan’s Constitution, which guarantees the right to reproductive freedom, and the ballot initiative proposal that led to the amendment, Proposal 3. Proposal 3 passed with 56% of the vote and enshrined reproductive rights into Michigan’s Constitution. The complaint names Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and AG Nessel as defendants in their official capacities.

Joining Attorney General Nessel in submitting the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.


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