Abortion pills are safe. The U.S. ruling is egregiously wrong.

For immediate release

NATIONAL – On Friday night within one hour of each other, two federal judges in the U.S. issued conflicting decisions on the abortion pill mifepristone. In Texas, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued a nationwide injunction that suspends Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the drug, based on fictitious safety concerns. In Washington state, Judge Thomas Rice ordered the FDA to maintain the drug’s availability for the 17 states plus District of Columbia that had joined that state’s lawsuit to require the FDA to lift restrictions on the drug.

“The Texas decision is unprecedented and egregiously wrong,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “How can one judge with no scientific background take away an essential medicine that pregnant Americans have relied on for 23 years?  Frankly, it’s because the judge is a right-wing anti-abortion ideologue. His decision uses inflammatory anti-choice language, repeats false anti-choice myths, and disregards the overwhelming evidence for the safety of mifepristone.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone in 2000 using a rigorous approval process. Since then, over 5 million Americans have had abortions with mifepristone, and over half of all abortions in the U.S. are now medication abortions. Mifepristone is safer than most other approved drugs and major complications are exceedingly rare.

Around the world, mifepristone has been used safely by tens of millions since 1989, starting in France. Over 100 scientific studies spanning 26 countries and 30 years have examined the safety and effectiveness of mifepristone and misoprostol, the two drugs used in combination to terminate a pregnancy. Every single study concluded that medication abortion is safe. Further, both drugs (in combination) have been on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines since 2005.

“The proven safety of medication abortion means that this attempt to ban abortion, like all others, is rooted in misogyny and a desire to control people by removing their reproductive rights,” said Arthur. “The effects will be devastating and harmful.”

Clinics and providers have also been thrown into confusion and uncertainty. While some will continue providing mifepristone until the FDA issues new recommendations, others plan to to use misoprostol only, which can end a pregnancy on its own but is slightly less effective with more side effects. (Misoprostol cannot be banned because it has multiple uses.) Meanwhile, Aid Access in Europe will continue to mail mifepristone to Americans in every state, and clandestine networks such as in Mexico will continue to distribute abortion pills in the U.S.

“Luckily, Canada won’t be affected in a direct way because the manufacturers and supply chains are entirely different,” said Arthur. In Canada, LinePharma International distributes Mifegymiso, the brand name for the two-drug combination of mifepristone and misoprostol. In the U.S., Danco Laboratories makes and sells an equivalent product called Mifeprex. But Arthur added: “Canada has a growing right-wing movement and we must stay vigilant to ensure American-style religious extremism will never flourish here.”

Media Contacts:

Joyce ArthurExecutive Director / Directrice générale, ARCC-CDAC, Vancouverjoyce@arcc-cdac.ca604-351-0867
Paige MasonPresident / Présidente, ARCC-CDAC, Winnipeg. 
Also with / également partie à la campagne : Access Manitoba Free Birth Control
Carolyn EganBoard member / Directeur du conseil d’administration, ARCC-CDAC, Toronto.
Also with/ également partie de la :
Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics
Galya BravoBoard member /Directeur du conseil d’administration, ARCC-CDAC, Montréalbravogalya@gmail.com514-663-2596
Tasia AlexopoulosARCC-CDAC, New Brunswick /
Christopher Kaposy, PhDEthicist, Memorial University /
Éthicien, Université Memorial,
St. Johns NL / T.-N.
christopher.kaposy@med.mun.ca709-864-3375 (w / bur.)
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