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MSF statement on Supreme Court mifepristone decision


The United States Supreme Court granted the Biden Administration’s emergency request to allow the continued use of mifepristone—one of two drugs used for medication abortions—while lower courts consider an appeal of an earlier ruling revoking the FDA’s approval of the drug. 

Dr. Carrie Teicher, director of programs for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) USA, gave the following statement:

MSF has witnessed the devastating complications from unsafe abortion when people don’t have access to this essential health care. As a provider of safe abortions in countries all over the world, we know that medication abortion reduces maternal death and suffering.

Mifepristone has been used by millions of people all over the world for 35 years: There’s decades of research and experience showing how safe and effective these pills are. Medication abortion has expanded access to safe abortion care for millions of people around the world—especially in conflict and crisis settings.

Unsafe abortion is one of the top five causes of maternal death worldwide, yet it’s the only one that is almost entirely preventable with timely access to contraception and safe abortion care.

Restricting access to safe abortion does not reduce the number of abortions, it only makes them unsafe.

Safe abortion care is health care. Reducing barriers to obtaining this care is essential to saving lives and preventing injuries and disability.

MSF provides safe abortion care as part of our comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services around the world. We do not run medical operations in the US, but we see the devastating consequences in countries where people do not have access to safe abortion. In 2021, MSF provided more than 35,000 safe abortions—most of these were medication abortions. Where MSF works, medication abortion has helped to significantly increase access to abortion—one of the key interventions in reducing maternal death and suffering related to unsafe abortion.

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