AG Tong Releases Statement on Fifth Circuit Decision Limiting Access to Medication Abortion

Attorney General William Tong released the following statement regarding a decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday limiting access to medication abortion in many states across the country.

Due to proactive litigation Attorney General Tong filed with 17 states and the District of Columbia in Washington state, access to medication abortion in Connecticut is not impacted.

The decision reverts regulations to those in place pre-2016, reversing actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appropriately allowing medication abortion drug mifepristone to be taken later in pregnancy, to be mailed directly to patients, and allowing the drug to be prescribed by qualified clinicians other than a doctor. The decision is stayed pending a determination by the U.S. Supreme Court whether to take up the case. Attorney General Tong will join that anticipated fight before the Supreme Court.

Connecticut and the plaintiff states in the case before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington are protected by a preliminary injunction issued in that case barring the FDA from altering the status quo and rights related to the availability of mifepristone.

“Abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in Connecticut. But let’s be clear—this decision imposes medically-unnecessary barriers that will hurt patients and senselessly complicate care in far too many states nationwide. This is precisely what we feared and why we went on offense and filed our own case in the Eastern District of Washington, which continues to protect access to medication abortion here in Connecticut. And we will continue to fight alongside women, patients, and providers when this case is heard by the Supreme Court. We will not let extremist politicians micromanage our healthcare decisions,” said Attorney General Tong.

Attorney General Tong had joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general arguing in an amicus brief that the FDA’s determination that the medication abortion drug mifepristone is safe and effective is supported by an overwhelming medical consensus developed over more than two decades of use. The coalition also argued that the FDA’s subsequent regulatory actions, including authorizing the generic version of mifepristone, permitting qualified clinicians other than physicians to authorize its usage, and enabling its distribution by mail, were all backed by solid evidence. 

 The coalition had urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reverse the lower court ruling and noted that if it is allowed to stand, it will harm millions of Americans, with underserved groups, including women of color, low-income women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals, being hardest hit.