Office of Attorney General Assures Pennsylvanians That Abortion Remains Legal Following Federal Court Decision in Texas

April 7, 2023 | Topic: Peoples AG

HARRISBURG –Attorney General Michelle Henry today confirmed that abortion, including medication-assisted abortion, remains legal in Pennsylvania following the decision announced in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which Judge Matthew Joseph Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas, stayed the decades-long standing approval by the FDA for mifepristone, a drug commonly used to terminate early pregnancies.

“I am deeply disappointed by the flawed decision made today in Texas. Health care providers and women need to know that Pennsylvania’s laws have not changed as a result of this ruling and abortion remains legal in our Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Henry. “Women deserve access to safe reproductive health care free from unwarranted interference by a court. I will continue to fight to ensure that the people of Pennsylvania get exactly that.”

Today’s decision upends over twenty years of data showing that mifepristone has been safely used by millions of people in the first weeks of pregnancy. In the United States, patients who are seeking medication abortions are often given a two-pill combination of mifepristone and misoprostol. In Pennsylvania, about 51% of abortions performed are medication-assisted abortions using both of these drugs. By preventing the use of mifepristone, without any legitimate legal or scientific basis, women seeking an abortion may be forced to travel far distances to obtain other more invasive and costly abortion services, pursue unsafe abortions, or delay badly-needed care.

Despite this Texas ruling, the Office of Attorney General assures Pennsylvanians that abortion remains legal in the Commonwealth under the Abortion Control Act. Pennsylvania’s laws have not changed with this ruling and abortion is permitted in Pennsylvania through the 23rd week of pregnancy, and afterwards when necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person.

Moreover, federal District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice of Washington State issued a same-day decision in State of Washington v. FDA, which stands in direct contradiction to Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling.  Citing reliable, proven scientific data supporting the safety of mifepristone, Judge Rice ordered the FDA to make no changes to the availability of mifepristone in the plaintiff states, of which Pennsylvania is one.

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