WASHINGTON [2/22/2023] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in anticipation of a U.S. District Court ruling that would prevent essential, lifesaving reproductive health care for millions of women. In her letter, Smith urges Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice to quickly appeal the case should the decision undermine access to medication abortion in any way.
The case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al, challenges the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to approve mifepristone, a safe and effective abortion medication. This suit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in front of a Trump-appointed Judge with a history of extreme views about LGBTQ people and reproductive rights.
“Access to medication abortion and reproductive health care is a deeply personal matter, and the availability of this medication should be based on science and using it should be a decision left to a woman and her doctor, not Judge Kacsmaryk,” wrote Smith.
Senator Smith recently reintroduced legislation with Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) to defend access to medication abortion in states where the right to an abortion still exists. The Protecting Access to Medication Abortion Act would protect current FDA guidelines so that women can always access medication abortion through telehealth and certified pharmacies, including mail-order pharmacies.
You can read a full version of Senator Smith’s letter here or below:
Dear Attorney General Garland,
I write in anticipation of a deeply dangerous verdict in the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al case currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. This case has the potential or even likelihood to prevent essential, lifesaving reproductive health care for millions of women. I am gravely concerned about the potential outcome of this case and urge you and the Department of Justice (the Department) to prepare to quickly appeal the case, should the decision undermine access to medication abortion in any way, in addition to any other measures you may take in response.
As you are aware, this case challenges the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to approve mifepristone, a safe and effective medication used to induce abortion in the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Not only is this medication invaluable to the reproductive health of many women, it also has a clear record of being a safe treatment. The FDA first approved mifepristone in 2000 and has continued to expand access to the medication based on science and data-based reasoning, and in 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the approval and oversight of the medication was entirely proper and within the FDA’s authorities. This lawsuit was designed to undermine this lawful authority, and the Department must work to stop it from threatening the health and rights of people across the United States.
The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and others who brought this suit are known for their work to undermine the rights and freedoms of Americans. They are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. This suit was purposefully brought to Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, a judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, because of his hateful views towards LGBTQ+ individuals and disdain for women’s reproductive rights. Judge Kacsmaryk has proven in his brief time on the bench to be extreme and outside the legal mainstream. Access to medication abortion and reproductive health care is a deeply personal matter, and the availability of this medication should be based on science and the decisions of a woman and her doctor, not Judge Kacsmaryk.
I appreciate you and your Department’s work to protect the rights of people to access health care. This case is the next such battle, and I urge you to prepare to urgently appeal Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision should it undermine the FDA’s authority and rights of women.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.