FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Doctors for America
PO Box 53313
1921 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009-9997
October 12, 2023
Doctors for America and The Reproductive Health Coalition File Fifth Amicus Brief in Major Medication Abortion Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On October 12, 2023, Doctors for America (DFA) and the Reproductive Health Coalition (RHC) filed a new amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court to emphasize the profound harms to American health care that would likely flow if medically unnecessary restrictions were placed on access to mifepristone. The brief, filed in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. FDA, urges the Supreme Court to grant the petitions for writ of certiorari filed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Danco and reverse the recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The Fifth Circuit’s decision would override the FDA’s recent moves to increase access to mifepristone and re-impose draconian dispensing and prescribing restrictions. These medically unnecessary restrictions would likely impede access to mifepristone. For example, the Fifth Circuit’s decision, if affirmed, could legally require that mifepristone be dispensed in person, potentially blocking mifepristone by mail.
The brief filed by DFA and the RHC explains, from the expert perspective of physicians, how the Fifth Circuit’s decision threatens to endanger the health of patients across the country. Uniquely, the brief of DFA and the RHC provides first-hand accounts from physicians across practice areas describing how they and their patients rely on mifepristone and why they oppose medically unnecessary restrictions on access. The physicians explain that mifepristone is safe and effective for abortion care and the management of early pregnancy loss (miscarriage). The physicians warn that restricting access to mifepristone could jeopardize physicians’ ability to provide safe and effective health care, undermine the patient-physician relationship, and impose upon some doctors an unacceptable choice between compliance with their ethical obligations and compliance with the law.
“Unnecessarily restricting access to a therapy with decades of data proving its safety and efficacy would not only hurt our patients–but also the very institutions we trust. The FDA is the body mandated to make decisions about the safety of therapies–not a judge. As a doctor, I know that my patients who need access to evidence-based treatments take the decision seriously—I wish these judges could do the same.” – Meghana Rao, MD, President, Doctors for America.
“We support the authority and expertise of the FDA to make determinations about the safety and use of mifepristone as they do for all prescribed medical therapeutics. Abortion care should not be treated any differently. Allowing judicial opinion to override FDA expertise in reviewing scientific data and setting policy guidelines is an alarming precedent for all approved and new drugs.” – Elizabeth Garner, MD, MPH, President, American Medical Women’s Association
The brief was filed on behalf of DFA and the RHC by Columbia Law School’s Science, Health & Information Clinic (SHIC). SHIC provides pro bono legal help to DFA and the RHC. Columbia Law student attorneys Cindy Chen, Emily Davidson, Angela Kang, Priscilla Kim, Rubí Rodriguez, and Matt Tracy led work on the brief, with the support of SHIC Director Christopher Morten and Dallas attorney Thomas Leatherbury.
The brief filed in the Supreme Court can be found here. DFA’s previous briefs filed in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA can be found here (Fifth Circuit, May 2023), here (U.S. Supreme Court of the United States, April 2023), here (Fifth Circuit, April 2023), and here (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, February 2023).
For press inquiries for Doctors for America or the Reproductive Health Coalition regarding clinician members willing to speak on this issue please contact Claire Onyechi with Continuum Health Group ([email protected]). For press inquiries to the legal team at Columbia Law School’s SHIC, please contact Christopher Morten ([email protected]).
About Doctors for America:
Doctors for America mobilizes doctors and medical students to be leaders in putting patients over politics to improve the health of our patients, communities, and nation. We are 27,000 physicians and medical students in all 50 states, representing all areas of specialization. Our impact areas focus on access to affordable care, community health and prevention, and health justice and equity. DFA focuses solely on what is best for our patients, not on the business side of medicine, and does not accept any funding from pharmaceutical or medical device companies. This uniquely positions DFA as the organization that puts patients over politics and patients over profits. Find out more at doctorsforamerica.org and on X @drsforamerica.
About the Reproductive Health Coalition
The Reproductive Health Coalition (RHC) is a wide-range of health professional associations and allied organizations who advocate with a unified voice to protect access to essential reproductive care. The tenets of this work include: a patient’s right to dignity, autonomy, privacy, and the expectation of a trusted relationship with their clinician; protection of the clinician’s ethical obligation to provide care, including their access to comprehensive training; and a commitment to an evidence-based approach to policy and practice. Over 50 organizations participate in the RHC, collectively representing more than 150 million members. Click here for more information.