What You Need to Know About the Latest Attack on Abortion Care: the Mifepristone Abortion Pill
UPDATE: Access to mifepristone — a safe, effective pill for medication abortion — remains safe for now. The Supreme Court has issued a stay that protects access to mifepristone.
This is good news — but FDA-approved mifepristone should never have been at risk in the first place, and it’s not over yet.
In an yet another attack on abortion care, in early April 2023 a federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of anti-abortion organizations suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The lawsuit challenges the FDA’s approval of mifepristone — also known as mife, one of two medications used in medication abortions. The court’s ruling means that mife could become unavailable to people who need abortions.
Although this decision came from a federal court in Texas, it doesn't just apply to patients in Texas — it could apply to people in every state in the nation.
Mife has been approved by the FDA for more than 20 years, and has been used by more than 5 million people in the U.S. to safely end their early pregnancies.
This lawsuit, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, is a political attack on people’s ability to control their own bodies and lives.
If the ruling stands, it will affect access to mifepristone across the country — but it will not end medication abortions. In states where abortion is legal, medication abortions will remain a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy.
The supportive, expert staff at Planned Parenthood health centers are dedicated to providing the education and health care patients need, including abortion. Contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center to learn more and book an appointment or a virtual visit.
What this lawsuit is really about
This case is about controlling the medical decisions of women, trans people, and nonbinary people. Not satisfied with ending the federal right to an abortion in June 2022, a group of anti-abortion activists and organizations asked the federal court in Texas to order the FDA to end its 22-year approval of mife. The judge ruled in their favor — threatening access to mifepristone across the nation.
This case is not about safety.
Medication abortion is safer than other common medicines like penicillin, Tylenol, and Viagra.
Medication abortion has a strong safety record — serious complications happen in less than ⅓ of 1% of cases, whether a patient gets their abortion pills in person, at a doctor’s office, or remotely through a virtual visit.
In 2021, more than half of all documented abortions were medication abortions.
Learn About Medication Abortion Without Mifepristone
Here’s what you need to know about having a medication abortion with just misoprostol.
Medication abortions are safe and are still available where abortion is legal, even if the case succeeds.
Lots of people refer to medication abortions as the abortion pill, although medication abortion in the U.S. most commonly involves taking two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. Both medications are safe and effective and have been used for decades by millions of people to end early pregnancies. Because of the court’s decision, mifepristone may be taken off the market. But misoprostol is — and will be — available as an option to end an early pregnancy.
Misoprostol by itself is a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy. Reach out to your local Planned Parenthood to talk about your options and what kind of care is best for you.
Get fast facts on misoprostol-only medication abortion at plannedparenthood.org.
Medication abortions without mifepristone are common around the world.
In the U.S. most people have relied on a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol for medication abortions. But for decades, all around the world, many people have used just misoprostol to safely end early pregnancies when mifepristone isn’t available.
Misoprostol works on its own to empty your uterus.
Planned Parenthood health centers are here for you.
Planned Parenthood health care professionals will do everything we can to make sure you can get abortion care, where it's legal. Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to learn more about your options.