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‘Darkest of times’: Local reproductive health supporters oppose ban on abortion pill

Boxes of mifepristone tablets
Robin Marty
CC 2.0/Flickr
Boxes of mifepristone tablets

As federal courts consider the legal fate of the abortion pill mifepristone, local abortion rights supporters are doing their part to safeguard what they consider “basic essential health care.”

“As we work right now to protect and restore access to sexual and reproductive health care across the country — more attacks on our bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health are happening,” said Maddie Donovan, vice president of public and executive affairs, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York.

Almost one month ago a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling revoking Food and Drug Administration approval of mifepristone. The drug, which is used in combination with misoprostol, has been on the market for more than 20 years and is used for more than 50% of abortions in the U.S.

The judge cited safety concerns and an unlawful approval process in his decision striking down mifepristone’s FDA approval. A federal appeals court has said that the drug’s approval remains legal while it reviews the case.

“This isn’t an issue about safety,” Donovan said, “This is about other people trying to control our bodies and trying to control our futures.”

Congressman Joe Morelle with Maddie Donovan, VP of Public and Executive Affairs of Planned Parenthood CWNY
Racquel Stephen
Congressman Joe Morelle with Maddie Donovan, VP of Public and Executive Affairs of Planned Parenthood CWNY

Donovan said mifepristone has been used to safely treat miscarriages and end pregnancies for almost 5 million people since 2000. She said, if court rulings are ultimately unfavorable, Planned Parenthood of CWNY is prepared to move forward “using an alternative protocol for medication abortions.”

“It would be a misoprostol protocol, which is also very safe and effective, and is widely used across the globe,” Donovan said.

In the meantime, Congressman Joe Morelle, along with 252 of his congressional colleagues, have filed an amicus brief urging the appeals court to uphold mifepristone’s FDA approval.

“These are the darkest of times when it comes to reproductive rights,” Morelle said, “ We have to be vigilant every single day. We have to push back.”

The congressman has also co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protect Act, which will consolidate the rulings of Roe v. Wade federally and protect abortion access nationwide.

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