Washington, D.C.— Doctors for America (DFA) and the Reproductive Health Coalition [which was co-founded by the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and DFA] have filed a new amicus brief in support of FDA’s approval of the use of mifepristone to end a pregnancy through ten weeks gestation, according to a press release issued April 12.
The brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is in response to the decision made last week by Judge Kacsmaryk in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which Judge Kacsmaryk ordered the FDA to stay the approval of mifepristone. Both Doctors for America (DFA) and the Reproductive Health Coalition (RHC) are deeply concerned that the decision made by Judge Kacsmaryk is not based on medical science, nor the robust data available. Mifepristone is a medication that has been safely used by physicians and patients for over 20 years, with research showing that adverse events and outcomes are exceedingly rare, occurring in less than a fraction of 1% of cases.
Doctors for America, AMWA, and the Reproductive Health Coalition are alarmed by the ramifications that potential loss of access to this medication will have on patients and clinicians. The brief filed in the Fifth Circuit provides first-hand physician testimonies on potentially devastating impacts on patient safety if mifepristone were temporarily or permanently taken off the market. DFA and the RHC are deeply concerned with Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision to stay the approval of a FDA-approved medication, as this decision undermines the FDA’s authority and sets a dangerous precedent for future drugs and therapeutics to be removed from market based on politics rather than patient harm or lack of efficacy.
The brief was filed by Dallas attorney Thomas Leatherbury with assistance from Columbia Law School’s Science, Health & Information Clinic (SHIC). SHIC provides pro bono legal help to DFA. Columbia Law student attorneys Emily Davidson and Matt Tracy led work on the brief, with support from student attorney David Ratnoff, and SHIC Director Christopher Morten. The full brief as filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals can be found here. DFA’s earlier amicus brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in February in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA can be found here.
About the Reproductive Health Coalition
The Reproductive Health Coalition represents a wide range of health professional associations and allied organizations that advocate with a unified voice to protect access to essential reproductive care. The tenets of this work focus on: a patient’s right to dignity, autonomy, privacy, and the expectation of a trusted relationship with their clinician; protection of the clinician’s ethical obligation to provide care, including their access to comprehensive training; and a commitment to an evidence-based approach to policy and practice. Over 40 organizations participate in the RHC, collectively representing more than 150 million members.