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AMA: Texas mifepristone ruling flies in the face of science


The following statement is attributable to:
Jack Resneck Jr., MD
President, American Medical Association 

“Today’s court decision from a federal district court in Texas staying longstanding approval of mifepristone flies in the face of science and evidence and threatens to upend access to a safe and effective drug that has been used by millions of people for more than 20 years. The court’s disregard for well-established scientific facts in favor of speculative allegations and ideological assertions will cause harm to our patients and undermines the health of the nation. By rejecting medical facts, the court has intruded into the exam room and has intervened in decisions that belong to patients and physicians. The court’s rebuff of scientific facts also undermines informed decisions, erodes trust in institutions, exacerbates social divides, and places individual and collective health at risk.

“Additionally, this decision introduces the extraordinary, unprecedented danger of courts upending longstanding drug regulatory decisions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Doing so goes against the established scientific process that leads to those decisions and puts other drugs at risk of being subject to similar efforts. Substituting the opinions of individual judges and courts in place of extensive, evidence-based, scientific review of efficacy and safety through well-established FDA processes is reckless and dangerous. We’ve also witnessed efforts by state legislatures to limit access to this medication–we believe that FDA regulations should supersede state law to avoid a patchwork of state-level, non-evidence-based restrictions that interfere with the appropriate use of a safe and effective drug and frustrate access to medically necessary care.

“Mifepristone has been studied extensively for over two decades and has been proven to be safe time and time again. In addition to its use for voluntary termination of pregnancy, mifepristone is regularly used, in combination with misoprostol, as one of the most effective regimens for medication management of miscarriage–a use this decision ends for countless patients already struggling with the loss of a pregnancy. Prohibiting access to mifepristone would force patients to consider using a higher dosage of misoprostol on its own, which is a less effective treatment.

“There is no evidence that people are harmed by having access to this safe and effective medication. To the contrary, there is substantial evidence that the denial of needed abortion care without justification carries a psychological, physical, and economic toll. For people who do not have access to procedural abortion or adequate medical facilities, there may be no other options to obtain critically needed care. Current data show an association between restricted access to safe and legal abortion and higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, with already vulnerable populations experiencing the greatest burden. Reduced access to mifepristone will almost certainly exacerbate the maternal mortality crisis in places that do not have access to this medication.

“We will continue to support access to evidence-based health care, including abortion medication, and oppose intrusions that undermine our patients’ health.”


About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

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