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What the federal court rulings on mifepristone mean for abortion access

Here’s what you need to know—and how you can take action and support medication abortion access.

Written by

Team Hey Jane

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Yesterday, two federal judges issued rulings on the FDA approval of mifepristone. While these lawsuits continue to progress through the court system, it is important to be clear that mifepristone is extremely safe, effective, and still legally available through Hey Jane

At Hey Jane, our focus remains on our patients and delivering the best possible evidence-based compassionate care, and therefore we will continue providing our current medication abortion protocol of mifepristone and misoprostol. 

Care with Hey Jane continues to be legal in the states that we operate in, and no attack on individual liberty and equity will stop Hey Jane from doing all that we can to provide high-quality abortion access.

Here’s what you need to know about medication abortion, the federal courts’ decisions regarding Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA and State of Washington v. FDA, what Hey Jane is doing to ensure abortion access to those who need it, and what you can do to take action.

What is mifepristone?

Mifepristone is a medication that blocks the hormone progesterone, which is needed to continue a pregnancy. When taken in conjunction with misoprostol (which causes the uterus to contract, leading to cramping and bleeding), mifepristone is up to 98% effective at ending pregnancies up to 11 weeks. It has a significant adverse reaction rate of less than .2%

This is not a new medication: Mifepristone was first developed by French researchers in the 1980s. Countries like China, Great Britain and Sweden all legalized the medication abortion regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol in the late-80s and early-90s. In 2000, the FDA approved mifepristone for medical termination of pregnancy in the US. 

Medication abortion can be more affordable and easier to access than in-person clinics, and allows for discreet, safe care from the comfort and convenience of home. (With Hey Jane, for example, patients complete an intake form online and hear back from one of our providers within 24 hours—and, if approved for care, have access at the tap of a button to our clinical care team for both emotional and medical support.)

For many people, medication abortion is the best and sometimes the only option, and it now accounts for more than half of all abortions in the US—a number that continues to increase following the 2021 FDA ruling allowing abortion pills to be mailed and the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade. This is why the vast majority of people (72% of Americans) oppose laws that would make it illegal to use or receive abortion pills through the mail. 

Which explains why abortion opponents are trying so hard to prevent people from accessing medication abortion. 

What has the district court in Amarillo, Texas ordered in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA?

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA is a baseless case, filed by a coalition of anti-abortion groups, arguing that the FDA did not properly authorize mifepristone for terminating pregnancies back in 2000. There has been no evidence of this, and in the two decades since the FDA approved mifepristone there have been numerous peer-reviewed studies confirming that mifepristone is incredibly safe—safer than Tylenol, Viagra, and other common medicines.

On Friday, April 7, federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk took the unprecedented step of attempting to block the FDA approval of mifepristone. The order has no immediate effect and is already being appealed. Most importantly, patients can still receive FDA-approved medication abortion care from Hey Jane.

What has the district court in Spokane, Washington ordered in State of Washington v. FDA?

On Friday, April 7, federal judge Thomas O. Rice barred the FDA from limiting access to mifepristone in 18 states/territories—Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania—while the attorneys general of those states litigate their claim that the FDA has imposed needlessly burdensome restrictions on mifepristone, singling it out despite ample evidence of its safety. The FDA has not yet appealed this decision.

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What does this mean for abortion care from Hey Jane?

Care with Hey Jane has not been impacted, and we will continue providing our current medication abortion protocol (mifepristone and misoprostol) to our patients.

In other words: If you are seeking medication abortion care, Hey Jane is still an option for you—and care with Hey Jane continues to be incredibly safe, effective, and legal.

Since our founding, Hey Jane has used a mifepristone and misoprostol protocol to help over 25,000 patients safely end early-stage pregnancies. Our focus remains on our patients and delivering the best possible evidence-based, compassionate care.

“This case serves as a tough reminder that the attack on reproductive rights didn’t end with the reversal of Roe,” says Kiki Freedman, Hey Jane’s co-founder and CEO. “As the most-trusted telehealth medication abortion clinic, we will continue to provide educational resources, physical and emotional support, and safe and effective medication for all individuals seeking abortions as we navigate this rapidly changing legal landscape.”

And let us be clear: Abortion is still legal in the states Hey Jane operates in—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, and Washington—and it’s your right to access care. 

No one should have their options for abortion care limited for political gain, and we urge our leaders to follow the science and do all that they can to push back on these baseless, yet extremely harmful attacks. 

What can I do to support abortion access?

There are concrete ways to act. If you'd like to join us in the fight for abortion access, sign up to join Hey Jane’s Un-Whisper Network.

Spread the word about medication abortion options

Medication abortion is a safe, effective, common, and private abortion option. While a majority of abortions performed in the US are medication abortions, only 1 in 3 people know about this option—and baseless lawsuits serve to further confuse people.. Use your platform to spread the word—to your friends, your family, your community.

Donate to an abortion fund or practical support groups

Abortion funds—which are able to cover costs for those who need assistance paying for an abortion—have been vital in helping to get people the care they need; they will play an even more important role in the future. Now more than ever, they need your support. You can find your local abortion fund through the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), donate to NNAF directly, or donate to one of Hey Jane’s official abortion fund partners.

There are also practical support groups, which help coordinate and pay for other logistical needs that come up—such as transportation to/from a clinic, hotel stays, childcare, and more. These are often entirely funded by donations, so please consider supporting The Brigid Alliance, Jane’s Due Process, or another local practical support organization (you can find one through Apiary Collective).

Tell your elected officials to protect medication abortion, abortion providers, and abortion patients

It’s past time for states to pass laws that support abortion access. Urge your state representatives to prioritize passing “shield laws,” legislation that will protect providers, patients (both from in and out of state), and clinics. These state laws are imperative to prevent a chilling effect in the immediate future. 

If you live in a state that did not join the Washington lawsuit, urge your state governor and attorney general to similarly seek to restrain FDA actions limiting access to mifepristone.

Stay up to date on the latest news

Follow Hey Jane on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and sign up to join the Un-Whisper Network to stay up to date on the latest—and help us spread the word so that everyone knows about their options for having a safe, effective, and legal medication abortion.

The movement for abortion access is committed, organized, and more motivated than ever, and Hey Jane will continue doing our part to provide this essential health care.

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Written by

Team Hey Jane

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