LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The future of the commonly used abortion drug Mifepristone has been debated in federal courts for months now.
Abortion healthcare providers in Michigan said that while the drug is still available, patients are worried.
Mifepristone is part of a two-drug process used for medical abortions that was first approved in 2000, with some restrictions eased in 2016.
The Texas ruling has been on hold after the Supreme Court preserved the drug’s approval while court hearings are underway. A panel of federal judges in Louisiana heard the appeal from the Biden Administration this month.
Dr. Sarah Wallet with Planned Parenthood Michigan says the drug is safe, effective and protected along with abortion in the state, but this legal battle shows risks of losing that protection.
“Even though Michiganders overwhelmingly passed Prop 3 in November, we are still at risk of losing access because of cases that play out in the federal level,” said Dr. Wallet.
She said the legal roller coaster has been a worry for patients.
“It does cause a lot of stress and confusion in what is often a stressful and confusing time because it is difficult to access an abortion in Michigan, in other states across our country.”
That stress has also added pressure to the job.
“All of these restrictions and court battles make that more challenging to do what is best for my patients. but I am going to continue to push for what is right for my patients and continue to talk about the need for this” said Dr. Wallet.
Right to Life Michigan and other groups challenging abortion access have been watching the case closely.
Genevieve Marnon with Right to Life Michigan said the group expects the case to move to the Supreme Court, adding that the organization is hopeful justices will rule in favor of “women’s health and safety” and take the pill off of the FDA’s list of approved drugs.
Marnon said the legal challenge centers on political pressure the FDA faced to approve the pill in 2000.
“The abortion pill’s safety was not properly assessed, and untold numbers of women have been harmed by its use,” said Marnon.
A decision is expected from the appeals court in the coming months. A legal professor from the University of Michigan said if a court does revoke Mifpristone’s approval or adds new restrictions, the federal ruling will affect access in Michigan, regardless of the passage of Prop 3 last November.