For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restriction forcing people to travel to a hospital, clinic, or medical office to access medication abortion care to be reinstated, despite the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow this restriction to be put back in place during a public health emergency endangers the health and well-being of Americans who need timely access to medication abortion care. This decision—pursued by the Trump administration—recklessly puts an ideological agenda grounded in disinformation and an insatiable desire for political gain ahead of science.”
Last month, the Trump administration submitted yet another petition to the Supreme Court demanding it reinstate the FDA restriction forcing people to travel to a health center during the pandemic to access mifepristone, the first of two medications taken during medication abortion care. The administration’s petition came after the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland upheld its earlier decision blocking the FDA’s restriction during the public health crisis. It was the third ruling blocking the restriction during the pandemic following an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit challenging the restriction on behalf of a coalition that includes the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and others.
Medication abortion care is a safe, effective, and FDA-approved option for ending an early pregnancy. The FDA’s in-person dispensing restriction disproportionately harms people of color and those with low incomes. These same communities are experiencing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of systemic racism that has produced disparities both in access to healthcare and healthcare outcomes.
This decision—made in the midst of a deadly pandemic the week after a mob of armed white supremacists attacked the U.S. Capitol and our country—is a stunning display of the Court’s misplaced priorities. The Court’s decision comes at a time when reproductive freedom and the legal right to abortion face unprecedented threats. Anti-choice, anti-freedom state legislators across the country are laser-focused on rolling back abortion access and Roe v. Wade. And just before Election Day, Donald Trump and Senate Republicans jammed through the confirmation of Amy Barrett, a judge with a record of hostility towards Roe v. Wade, to the Supreme Court. Barrett’s presence on the Court solidified an anti-choice supermajority on the bench that could threaten our fundamental rights for decades. Dozens of cases that put Roe and access to abortion care at risk are making their way to the Supreme Court.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.