Attorney General James Leads Multistate Coalition to Urge Supreme Court to Reverse Lower Court’s Ruling on Medication Abortion

Coalition of 24 Attorneys General Argues that Lower Court’s Ruling Halting FDA Actions to Improve Access to Mifepristone Could Cause Devastating Harms to Patients and Health Care Systems

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a multistate coalition of 24 attorneys general to protect access to medication abortion nationwide. The coalition of attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and Danco Laboratories LLC’s petitions to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that reinstated certain medically unnecessary restrictions on the medication. Mifepristone is the only FDA-approved abortion medication, and the coalition argues that the Fifth Circuit’s ruling has dangerous consequences on reproductive health care outcomes, particularly for low-income and underserved communities. 

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision to reinstate medically unnecessary restrictions on the FDA-approved drug mifepristone was dangerous and misguided,” said Attorney General James. “The availability of medication abortion is critical to ensure safe reproductive health care for millions of Americans, particularly those in low-income, underserved, and rural communities. I am proud to lead this coalition of attorneys general to protect access to reproductive health care.”

Attorney General James and the coalition are urging the Supreme Court to grant the petitions to bring the case on medication abortion before the court. The coalition asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s poorly-reasoned decision that restricts how mifepristone can be prescribed and dispensed. The amicus brief highlights that the Fifth Circuit’s decision ignores decades of high-quality evidence and clinical research that shows mifepristone is safe and effective.

The coalition notes that if the Fifth Circuit’s decision is permitted to take effect, it could disrupt access to the most common method of abortion, harming countless individuals in need of abortion care or management of pregnancy loss, with widespread implications for the health care system. Among other things, the ruling could lead many individuals to undergo procedural abortion, push abortion procedures later in pregnancy, drive up risks, costs, and delays, and deprive many individuals of access to reproductive health care altogether. The coalition further argues that the ruling would create widespread confusion among providers, distributors, and pharmacies, and radically destabilize the regulatory process for drug approvals, stifling scientific innovation and imperiling the development and availability of thousands of drugs nationwide.

Joining Attorney General James in submitting today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

Attorney General James has been a national leader in protecting access to reproductive healthcare, including medication abortion. In April, Attorney General James led the multistate coalition in this case in the district court and on appeal before the Fifth Circuit. She further led the coalition in the successful request that the Supreme Court intervene and stay the district court’s decision, which would have invalidated the approval of mifepristone altogether. In March, Attorney General James, together with Governor Hochul, sent a letter to the CEOs of Walgreens (owner of Duane Reade), Rite Aid, and CVS to demand answers about the companies’ plans to make the abortion medication mifepristone available in New York state. She has fought to preserve access to abortion care in medical emergencies, leading a series of briefs in support of the United States Department of Health and Human Services interpretation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Following the Supreme Court’s decision to end Roe v. Wade, Attorney General James launched a pro bono legal hotline to provide legal support to patients and healthcare providers nationwide. Attorney General James has helped lead a coalition of attorneys general to defend abortion access in IdahoTexasArizonaIndiana, and Mississippi.