Statement of Assemblymember Amy Paulin on the Federal Court Ruling Overturning the FDA Approval of Medication Abortion

Scarsdale, NY – Texas Federal Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk has disregarded science, the FDA, and the will of the majority of our country by ruling to suspend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of mifepristone – one of two drugs used together to cause an abortion – virtually banning the sale of the pills across the country.

The decision compounds the Supreme Court’s tragic overturning of Roe v. Wade as it will negatively affect the hundreds of thousands of women in the country who each year use the two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol for abortions and treating miscarriages.

This year I am introducing legislation to expand abortion access in New York by allowing pharmacists to dispense the pills used for medication abortion through the use of non-patient specific prescriptions. My bill was prompted by the FDA’s recent regulatory change allowing mifepristone and misoprostol to be offered in retail pharmacies. Mifepristone and misoprostol are drugs which can be safely self-administered by a patient at home over a 2-day period in order to medically induce an abortion. They can be taken up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy, greatly expanding the abortion window for women.

In 2021, over half of abortions in the United States were medication abortions, specifically using the two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol.

Texas Federal Court Judge Kacsmaryk has decided to ignore science which has proven mifepristone and misoprostol to be safe and effective, with a 0.4 percent risk of major complications and an associated mortality rate of less than 0.001 percent. They also have no risk of overdose or addiction.

Judge Kacsmaryk has overstepped the court’s judicial authority by overturning a decision made by the FDA with its rigorous testing and approval process, as well as over two decades of safe and effective use of medication abortion. Allowing the courts to overturn an FDA approval based on politics rather than science has very dangerous implications. For this reason alone, the ruling must be overturned.

Judge Kacsmaryk has also chosen to ignore the public’s will, as poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal. 

Since the Supreme Court’s devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and as states around the nation are tragically banning and limiting access to abortions, New York State has taken steps to become a safe harbor for abortion access. Access to abortion is something I have fought for throughout my time as a legislator. I will fight against this tragic and destructive attempt to turn back the clock to the detriment of women and families, and will continue to ensure that New York State not only allows, but expands abortion access.