Arizona AG Kris Mayes joins amicus brief in Texas abortion pill case

May 3, 2023, 12:00 PM

PHOENIX — Attorney General Kris Mayes on Tuesday announced Arizona has joined a multistate coalition that is working to protect medication abortion access.

The amicus brief filed in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals argues Texas U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s decision to issue a ruling that would completely revoke the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of abortion pill mifepristone would cause serious harm to millions of Americans, with minorities hit the hardest, Mayes said in a press release.

“We cannot allow anti-abortion activists and an extremist judge to undo over two decades of medical consensus. Mifepristone is safe and effective and has been used by millions of Americans over the past two decades,” Mayes said in the release.

“I am proud to join with my fellow attorneys general in working to protect Americans’ access to medication abortion options — and I will never stop fighting for the rights of Arizonans to make their own personal medical decisions.”

A lawsuit over mifepristone started late last year in Texas, with some of the pill’s opponents claiming the FDA’s approval of it was flawed.

Over the years, restrictions have been loosened on the drug’s use, such as extending from seven to 10 weeks of pregnancy when it can be used, allowing pills to be obtained by mail and reducing the dosage to safely end a pregnancy.

But on the same day Kacsmaryk issued his ruling — while also putting the decision on hold for a week to allow an appeal — Washington-based U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice issued a separate ruling that ordered the FDA not to do anything that could affect the availability of mifepristone in suing states.

After it was deemed impossible to follow both judges’ directives at the same time, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow restrictions to take place on access to mifepristone.

The Biden administration and the maker of mifepristone, New York-based Danco Laboratories, appealed to the Supreme Court, saying that allowing such restrictions to take place would cause chaos.

The multistate coalition argues all regulatory actions made by the FDA have been backed by solid evidence and urges the appeals court to reverse the lower court ruling.

Arguments in the case are set to be heard in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 17.

Mayes joined attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Arizona AG Kris Mayes joins amicus brief in Texas abortion pill case