March 2024 Church & State Magazine - March 2024

Americans United urges Supreme Court to protect access to abortion drug


Protecting reproductive rights: AU urges high court to defend access to mifepristone (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Americans United joined nearly 240 reproductive rights, civil rights, religious and other social justice organizations to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to protect access to mifepristone, a safe and effective drug used in medication abortions and miscarriage management.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Jan. 30 in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, Americans United and allied groups stressed that more than 20 years of evidence supports the FDA’s conclusion that medication abortion with mifepristone is safe and effective. The groups assert that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ unprecedented decision to severely restrict access to mifepristone imperils the health and safety of millions of people.

Other organizations joining the brief include Lambda Legal, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America), National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, People For the American Way and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“Abortion is a civil and human right that is essential to our health, equality and freedom,” said Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser. “Mifepristone — a medication unequivocally proven to be safe and effective — plays a key role in ensuring equal access to abortion, especially for Black, Indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people working to make ends meet and others who face excessive barriers to health care.

“The Fifth Circuit’s unconscionable decision to severely restrict access to mifepristone despite the FDA’s approval ignores long-established science, sound medical guidance and FDA expertise to advance the agenda of religious extremists seeking to ban all abortions and force all of us to live by their narrow beliefs,” Laser added. “We knew that the end of Roe signaled the beginning of a new wave of attacks on abortion rights by religious extremists who are seeking to force all of us to live by their narrow beliefs. This case features a who’s who of Christian Nationalist groups that are part of a well-funded and politically connected shadow network that is working to undermine church-state separation and our democracy. Alliance Defending Freedom brought the case. First Liberty Institute is the former employer of the federal district judge who ruled against mifepristone access in the case, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. A slew of anti-abortion organizations filed briefs supporting the ban, from Family Research Council to American Center for Law and Justice to Advancing American Freedom.”

Concluded Laser, “Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state by enshrining one narrow religious viewpoint into our law. If America is to make good on its promise of religious freedom, each of us must be free to make our own decisions about our own bodies based on our own beliefs. That’s why we need a national recommitment to the separation of church and state. It’s the shield that protects freedom without favor and equality without exception for all of us.”

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

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