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Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.

In today’s Quickie: the facts on mifepristone, the importance of mifepristone for providers and patients, and Michigan moves toward repealing 1931 abortion ban. 

DON’T GET IT TWISTED: MIFEPRISTONE IS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, AND THAT’S A FACT: As we await a decision on the pending case in federal court challenging the FDA’s 22-year approval of mifepristone, there is a lot of misinformation that anti-abortion activists are peddling about the medication.

They’re panicking because there are no two sides to this: mifepristone is extremely safe and effective at ending an early pregnancy. It is important to be clear about this fact, especially because anti-abortion lawmakers have doubled down on imposing medically unnecessary barriers to accessing medication abortion, and anti-abortion activists are pushing false narratives — especially in the media — about the safety of mifepristone.

Here are the facts:

  • Mifepristone has a safety record of over 99%. That makes it safer than commonplace procedures like tonsil or wisdom teeth removal. 
  • The FDA approved mifepristone more than 20 years ago and since then, it has been used by more than five million people to safely and effectively end their pregnancies. In fact, mifepristone is used in more than half of all abortions in the United States.  
  • In-person dispensing requirements — part of the regulations imposed by the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) classification of mifepristone  — were never rooted in science or research. Leading medical organizations oppose these requirements, and there is no research to suggest that picking up the medication at a health center is medically necessary. This is just another example of reproductive health care being targeted because of politics. 

THE MEDICATION ABORTION LAWSUIT IS “AN ATTACK TO A FUNDAMENTAL PROCESS TO OUR PUBLIC HEALTH”: Univisión Noticias shared the testimony of a patient storyteller’s medication abortion to explain the potential impact of restricting access to mifepristone. In this context, Dr. Gillian Dean, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, explained: 

"These attacks are not grounded in science, they are entirely political in nature. They are part of a concerted effort to affect access to abortion across the country, including those states where abortion is protected. This attack on a process as fundamental to our public health as FDA approval makes many of us physicians worry that it will be used to interfere with the approval of other drugs. To have it manipulated for political reasons is quite frightening, It's a very scary thing.”

Read the story here (in Spanish).

MICHIGAN MOVES TOWARD REPEALING 1931 CRIMINAL ABORTION BAN: Yesterday, Michigan lawmakers advanced a slate of pro-reproductive rights bills through committees in the House and Senate, setting up lawmakers to finally repeal the state’s 1931 criminal abortion ban. While technically still on the books, the 1931 ban has been blocked since September 2022 when the Michigan Court of Claims issued a permanent injunction in Planned Parenthood of Michigan’s legal challenge to the law; and in November, Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 3 to explicitly  enshrine reproductive rights, including abortion, in their state constitution, further barring enforcement of the nearly century-old statute.  Even though it’s not currently in effect, officially repealing the 1931 ban is an important continuation of reproductive rights advocates’ work in the state. 

“I’m here asking you to do what lawmakers should have done decades ago: Repeal Michigan’s 1931 criminal abortion ban,” Dr. Sarah Wallett, PPMI’s Chief Medical Operating Officer and the physician plaintiff in the April 2022 lawsuit against the ban,  said at the committee hearing. “It’s terrifying to know that nearly a century-old ban remains on Michigan’s law books, threatening to label me a felon. I should not have to fear being arrested, separated from my family, stripped of my medical license and barred from practicing medicine, simply for providing the care my patients depend on. And my patients should not have to fear that they will abruptly lose abortion access and be forced to travel out of state, to seek care outside of the legal medical system, or continue a pregnancy against their will.”

Read more at Michigan Advance, WEMU, and The Detroit News


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