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Los Angeles area officials and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles held a press conference on April 10 in response to the April 7 ruling of Texas District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that rescinds the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of the drug mifepristone, which is used to induce abortions. Mifepristone, or RU486, has been approved and available for two decades.
“When the opinions of scientists and medical professionals are bypassed by judges, lives are put at risk. This ruling is yet another attack on the rights of women across this country,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said. “But we cannot allow this ruling to cause us to despair – it must drive us to take action. For as long as I serve as mayor, I will do all I can to ensure that Los Angeles remains a safe haven for women across the country who are seeking access to abortion care and reproductive freedom.”
The decision, while made in Texas, affects the entirety of the United States, and is one of the first wide-spread effects of the June Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. The Biden administration has requested an emergency stay on the ruling and appealed the decision. Access to the drug could be limited as soon as April 14, when, according to NPR, Kacsmaryk’s decision is supposed to take effect. The decision will likely go to the Supreme Court.
A competing decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice might allow for access to mifepristone in 17 states and the District of Columbia where attorneys general are seeking to expand FDA access to the pill. California is one of the states that would fall under this exception.
“[The] decision is another painful reminder that misogyny and sexism are alive and well. While the courts continue to undermine our agency, privacy and basic human rights, Los Angeles County continues to serve as a safe harbor for all seeking reproductive freedom and access,” Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, 3rd District, said. We are building out infrastructure through the Abortion Safe Haven Project to care for Angelenos as well as those throughout the country who are denied access in their home states.”
“It’s appalling that a single federal judge in Texas is attempting to stop the use of an abortion drug that has been safely used for more than 20 years. This ruling would effectively deny patients access to medication abortion in every state – even in states like California where abortion remains legal,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) said. “The science is clear: mifepristone – in combination with a second drug – has allowed more than 5 million women to receive abortion care since it was first approved in 2000. Medication abortions now account for more than half of all abortions in the United States and the two-drug mifepristone combination is widely considered to be safer than other alternatives. There were no health concerns to block access now. But this ruling wasn’t about the safety of the drug or protecting patients. This was clearly about overriding the FDA’s processes and expertise to attack women’s reproductive rights. Science, not an extreme right-wing ideology, should determine which drugs are available to women seeking an abortion.”
The state of California is fighting against the decision by securing a stockpile of misoprostol, an alternative medication.
“In response to this extremist ban on a medication abortion drug, our state has secured a stockpile of an alternative medication abortion drug to ensure that Californians continue to have access to safe reproductive health treatments,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “We will not cave to extremists who are trying to outlaw these critical abortion services. Medication abortion remains legal in California.”
“This ruling is rooted in politics, not medicine, and will create nationwide confusion and fear for medical providers and people who need abortions,” West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne said. “This fight is far from over. Here in California, pro-choice champions such as myself are working to protect our personal liberties around the clock, including the right to abortion care.”
Women’s March Action will be organizing its own protest to the ruling on April 15 at 10 a.m., with a march that will start at Pershing Square and end at Los Angeles City Hall downtown.
“If a conservative Texas judge thinks he can override the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, he’s not counting on women fighting back … and fight back we will,” Women’s March Action executive director Emiliana Guereca said. “A woman’s right to choose what she does with her body is not up to a judge in Texas. We call on all feminists to take to the streets on April 15 from California to D.C. We are taking to the streets. We will fight with every fiber of our being for abortion access.”put at risk. This ruling is yet another attack on the rights of women across this country,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said. “But we cannot allow this ruling to cause us to despair – it must drive us to take action. For as long as I serve as mayor, I will do all I can to ensure that Los Angeles remains a safe haven for women across the country who are seeking access to abortion care and reproductive freedom.”
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