Hawaiʻi Attorney General Anne Lopez joins coalition to protect abortion access
In a multi-state effort, Hawaiʻi Attorney General Anne Lopez has joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general to challenge a district court judge’s decision that could limit medication abortion access across the United States.
The coalition filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to stay the district court’s ruling, which could prevent the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the medication abortion drug, mifepristone.
Mifepristone has been in use for more than two decades. Revoking approval for mifepristone could lead to reduced access to safe abortion care and miscarriage management, endangering millions of people across the country, and infringing on states’ authority to protect access to abortion, the coalition said.
Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued the ruling on April 7, ordering the FDA to stay its approval of mifepristone.
The decision followed a challenge by anti-abortion groups seeking to revoke the FDA’s approval of the drug.
The ruling does not immediately take effect. The district court put the decision on hold for seven days to allow the federal government and drug manufacturers to appeal.
The coalition of attorneys general argues that the decision to revoke approval for mifepristone would drastically curtail abortion access for millions of Americans.
According to estimates, medication abortion accounts for approximately 54% of all abortions in the United States, and restricting access to mifepristone could lead to increased demand for procedural abortions, which are more complex and costly.
The coalition highlights that access to safe abortion care is particularly crucial for low-income, underserved and rural communities, and lack of access could lead to worsened health outcomes and higher mortality, particularly for black women.
The coalition of attorneys general includes those from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Lopez said that despite the Texas district court’s decision, abortion remains legal and accessible in Hawaiʻi, and she will continue to fight for access to essential reproductive healthcare.
A copy of the amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in “Alliance for Hippocratic Freedom v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration” can be found here.