Pro-Choice North Carolina Statement on US Supreme Court Decision to Hear Mifepristone Case

On Wednesday, December 13, the Supreme Court of the United States announced, after months of uncertainty, that it would hear arguments in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v FDA. This case, one that could unnecessarily and severely limit access to medication abortion, will be the first significant abortion rights case since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe in 2022. The date for oral arguments has not been set yet, and the decision will most likely be handed down in June 2024.

The U.S. Supreme Court states it will limit its hearing to the anti-abortion challenges to recent federal revisions in the availability of mifepristone, the first medication used in medication abortion. These revisions include increasing the gestational limit for medication abortion use from 7 weeks to 10 weeks and increasing access to patients via telehealth options. Both of these provisions are in line with World Health Organization standards and best practices around medication abortion. The anti-abortion challenges to these provisions have nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics, including political interference into people’s most personal healthcare decisions. 

The announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this case changes nothing in the immediate term. Medication abortion is still available across the country and in North Carolina today as it had been yesterday, and will remain so at least until this decision is released in 2024.

For over twenty years, mifepristone has been an approved, safe, and effective option for abortion that empowers patients to take control of their personal healthcare decisions, often in the privacy of their own homes. Since the medication’s approval in 2000, the combined regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol currently accounts for more than half of abortions in the country, making it a common procedure. That is why anti-abortionists are so focused on restricting access to medication abortion, especially in the wake of the unpopular reversal of Roe in June 2022. The initial federal courts’ rulings to reverse improvements to access to mifepristone as well as question the initial FDA approval of the drug have been nothing but political stunts in an attempt to completely ban abortion in every state, regardless of medical science or the will of the voters.  

The potential ramifications of a 2024 ruling that allows anti-abortion bad faith legal arguments to stand will most directly impact those North Carolinians who already struggle to access any kind of healthcare, including People of Color, people living in rural communities, young people, people of lower income, LGBTQ+ people, and people living in immigrant communities. All abortion restrictions always fall hardest on those already struggling to access any kind of healthcare, including reproductive healthcare. 

While we are limited in our ability to impact U.S Supreme Court decisions, we know that these decisions do not happen in a vacuum. We encourage you to talk with your own networks about the importance of increased access to safe and effective medication abortion, as well as correct any misinformation you hear about this procedure. When elected and appointed government officials refuse to look out for the health and safety of our communities, we have to make sure we empower and take care of each other. You can find more detailed information about medication abortion here

These continued legal challenges further throw access to abortion into uncertainty. What we know for sure is that this court case is the result of  political games that have no basis in medical science or legal precedent. Despite these ongoing challenges, advocates here in North Carolina and across the country will never stop fighting for reproductive freedom for all.

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