FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / April 14, 2023
Doctors for America and the Reproductive Health Coalition File Third Amicus Brief in Major Medication Abortion Case
Washington, D.C.: Doctors for America and the Reproductive Health Coalition have filed a new amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of FDA’s approval of the use of mifepristone to end pregnancy through ten weeks gestation, without draconian prescribing and dispensing restrictions.
DFA is glad that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed a portion of the decision made last week by Judge Kacsmaryk in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that attempted to undo FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone, thus enabling mifepristone to remain on the shelves in many states. However, the Fifth Circuit upheld other portions of Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision that could impose medically unnecessary restrictions on access to and use of mifepristone, including reinstatement of a requirement that mifepristone be dispensed in doctors’ offices. There is no valid scientific or legal basis to reinstate these unnecessary restrictions. DFA is deeply troubled that the courts continue to place their political agendas before science and safety. 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.
“Cutting off access to a therapy with decades of data proving its safety and efficacy would not only hurt our patients–but also the very institutions we trust. The FDA is the body mandated to make decisions about the safety of therapies–not a judge. As a doctor, I know that my patients who need access to mifepristone take the decision seriously—I wish these judges could do the same.” – Meghana Rao,MD, President, Doctors for America
“We support the authority and expertise of the FDA to make determinations about the safety and use of mifepristone as they do for all prescribed medical therapeutics. Abortion care should not be treated any differently. Allowing judicial opinion to override FDA expertise in reviewing scientific data and setting policy guidelines is an alarming precedent for all approved and new drugs.” – Elizabeth Garner, MD, MPH, President, American Medical Women’s Association
Doctors for America (DFA) and the Reproductive Health Coalition (RHC) understand that even limiting the access to this medication will lead to heavy burdens on the very patients who need it the least. The brief filed in the Supreme Court of the United States provides first-hand physician testimonies on potentially devastating impacts on patient safety if access to mifepristone were diminished.
The brief was filed on behalf of DFA and the RHC by 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 attorneys David Ratnoff, Keerthi Manimaran, and Rubí Rodriguez, SHIC Director Christopher Morten, and Dallas attorney Thomas Leatherbury.
The brief filed for the Supreme Court of the United States 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, and the brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit can be found here.
For press inquiries for Doctors for America or the Reproductive Health Coalition regarding clinician members willing to speak on this issue please contact Claire Onyechi with Continuum Health Group (firstname.lastname@example.org). For press inquiries to the legal team at Columbia Law School, please contact Christopher Morten (email@example.com).
About Doctors for America
Doctors for America mobilizes doctors and medical students to be leaders in putting patients over politics to improve the health of our patients, communities, and nation. We are 27,000 physicians and medical students in all 50 states, representing all areas of specialization. Our impact areas focus on access to affordable care, community health and prevention, and health justice and equity. DFA focuses solely on what is best for our patients, not on the business side of medicine, and does not accept any funding from pharmaceutical or medical device companies. This uniquely positions DFA as the organization that puts patients over politics and patients over profits. Find out more at doctorsforamerica.org and on Twitter @drsforamerica.
About the Reproductive Health Coalition
The Reproductive Health Coalition (RHC) is a wide-range of health professional associations and allied organizations who advocate with a unified voice to protect access to essential reproductive care. The tenets of this work include: 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.