Cortez Masto, Rosen joined 261 Members of Congress ask Supreme Court to reverse Fifth Circuit ruling that could dramatically curtail access to mifepristone nationwide
Members: “The perils of this unwarranted judicial intervention into science-based determinations can hardly be overstated.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joined an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, urging the Court to protect access to Mifepristone, a safe and effective medication used by more than 5 million women over the last 20 years for miscarriage and abortion care.
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered the FDA to reinstate burdensome and unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone, undoing 8 years of scientific and evidence-based actions taken by the FDA. The brief calls on the Supreme Court to reverse the lower courts’ decisions. The lawmakers underscore that the lower courts’ rulings threaten the congressionally mandated drug approval process and threaten the ability of patients in every state in the country to access mifepristone.
“FDA’s determination that mifepristone is safe and effective is based on a thorough and comprehensive review process prescribed and overseen by the legislative branch. Since mifepristone’s initial approval in 2000, FDA has repeatedly and consistently affirmed that the medication is safe and effective for its approved conditions of use,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers make clear the Fifth Circuit’s decision disrupts longstanding statutory framework.
“Decades after FDA’s initial approval—yet somehow in an emergency posture—the district court and the Fifth Circuit intruded into FDA’s drug approval process, casting a shadow of uncertainty over its decisions. The perils of this unwarranted judicial intervention into science-based determinations can hardly be overstated,” the lawmakers wrote.
If the Supreme Court upholds the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, women’s access to mifepristone will be severely limited no matter where they live, pro-choice state or not. It will also put the FDA’s authority to determine the safety and efficacy of other drugs at risk.
“In the aftermath of this Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion has become inaccessible in much of the United States… The resulting delays and denials of care have already dangerously affected health outcomes for pregnant individuals,” the members wrote. “The Fifth Circuit’s order will exacerbate these adverse health outcomes by limiting access to the most common method of early abortion. It will also create additional confusion on top of the post-Dobbs uncertainty surrounding the legality of different forms of reproductive health care.”
The lawmakers also pointed out that “just as Dobbs upended abortion access and led to chaos following the decision, a disruption of mifepristone’s current conditions of use will further narrow options for care.”
The effort was led by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Katherine Clark (D-Conn.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and was joined by 263 Members of Congress. The full amicus brief to the Supreme Court can be read in full HERE.
Senator Cortez Masto and Rosen have been fierce advocates for women’s reproductive rights. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Senator Cortez Masto introduced the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Rosen, that would ensure legal protections for women traveling across state lines to receive reproductive care. The Senators also helped introduce the Affordability is Access Act, which would make sure women across the country have access to affordable over-the-counter birth control.