City, County Leaders Denounce Ruling on Abortion Pill

Young woman with abortion pill and glass of water indoors, closeup

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Karen Bass and county Supervisor Lindsey Horvath joined Planned Parenthood of L.A. Monday in denouncing a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that would revoke the FDA's approval of mifepristone, an abortion pill that's been in use in the United States for more than two decades.

Bass and Horvath also vowed they will work to keep the city and county as safe havens for women seeking access to reproductive health care.

"When the opinions of scientists and medical professionals are bypassed by judges, lives are put at risk," Bass said at a morning news conference. "But we cannot allow this ruling to cause us to despair -- it must drive us to take action.

"For as long as I serve as mayor," she added, "I will do all I can to ensure that Los Angeles remains a safe haven for women across the country who are seeking access to abortion care and reproductive freedom."

Horvath echoed Bass' statements, saying, "Let it be clear: We are committed to providing safe, affordable and compassionate care for every person who seeks a full range of reproductive services, including abortion, in Los Angeles County."

Their comments followed a Friday ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas that ordered a hold on the Food and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone, which is part of a two-drug combination. The Biden administration has vowed to appeal the ruling, which would not go into effect for seven days.

Meanwhile, another federal judge -- this one in Washington state -- issued a contradictory ruling on Friday, ordering the FDA to maintain availability of mifepristone. The two rulings are likely to set up a showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court over the issue.

The ruling by Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee confirmed to the bench in 2019, was in favor of the anti-abortion group Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. That group argued the FDA fast-tracked approval without sufficient scientific evidence, using a regulatory process intended for treatments for life-threatening illnesses.

"Pregnancy is not an illness, and chemical abortion drugs don't provide a therapeutic benefit -- they can pose serious and life-threatening complications to the mother, in addition to ending a baby's life," attorney Erik Baptist of Alliance Defending Freedom, which argued the case for Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and other groups, said in a statement. "The FDA never had the authority to approve these hazardous drugs or to remove important safeguards. This is a significant victory for the doctors and medical associations we represent and, more importantly, the health and safety of women and girls."

Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles said the consequences of the judge's ruling could go as far as taking mifepristone off the market nationwide.

"This decision is an outright attack on our rights and our ability to make decisions about our own futures," said Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of L.A. "Abortion is essential healthcare, and we remain committed to ensuring our patients have access to the services they need."

Planned Parenthood of L.A. has been working with state, county and cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and West Hollywood to prepare for the impact of the ruling.

Gov. Gavin Newsom in January 2022 declared California a Safe Haven State for abortion access. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors followed suit with a similar declaration.

"Los Angeles County will continue to provide free and low-cost access to abortion and reproductive healthcare services," Supervisor Holly Mitchell said in a statement Friday.

Horvath on Friday said the county is building out infrastructure through the Abortion Safe Haven Project to care for Angelenos as well as those throughout the country who are denied access in their home states.

This coming Saturday, Women's March Los Angeles for Action plans to march from Pershing Square to L.A. City Hall at 10 a.m. in response to Kacsmaryk's ruling.

"If a conservative Texas judge thinks he can override the FDA's approval of mifepristone, he's not counting on women fighting back, and fight back we will," Emiliana Guereca, executive director of Women's March Action, said in a statement. "We call on all feminists to take to the streets on April 15 from California to D.C. We are taking the streets. We will fight with every fiber of our being for abortion access."

Newsom announced Monday that in response to the Texas ruling on mifepristone, California has obtained a stockpile of about 2 million doses of another abortion medication, misoprostol, "to ensure that Californians continue to have access to safe reproductive health treatments."

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