The impact of the Supreme Court’s decision on mifepristone in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Mifepristone can still be used to treat a woman having a miscarriage
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 4:44 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A U.S. Supreme Court decision is expected by midnight regarding access to the abortion medication, mifepristone.

Supreme Court consideration of this case began after a conservative Texas judge suspended FDA-approval of the drug earlier this month.

A federal appeals court panel then proceeded to block that ruling, while still imposing restrictions allowing the drug to be sent through mail.

The Supreme Court decision was originally planned for release on Wednesday, but was delayed to later Friday to further weigh arguments.

Mifepristone is a common abortion method across the country and this decision could potentially affect millions of women’s access to abortions.

In Wisconsin, abortions are illegal, but mifepristone can be prescribed to manage a miscarriage.

According to Mayor Clinic, about 10-20 percent of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage, also medically known as a spontaneous abortion.

If the drug is no longer accessible in Wisconsin, OBGYN Dr. Kristin Lyerly said women in Wisconsin will have fewer treatment options for a miscarriage.

“That means that they will have to potentially take additional doses of medication which causes additional pain, additional bleeding, additional fear and uncertainty,” said Dr. Lyerly. “Maybe even a surgery down the road with additional expenses. They may need to take more time away from work and more time away from their family.”

More than 5 million people have used the FDA-approved drug since 2000, including Wisconsinite Jodie Webb. She said she needed the drug herself to treat a miscarriage.

“Only having something that is invasive or something that may not work, I think that would make me feel that my basic healthcare rights are not there, or completely eliminated,” said Webb.

The doctor group involved in the lawsuit against the FDA’s approval of mifepristone argues they’ve seen sever complications from use of the drug.

“The FDA has ignored the warnings from our clients about these drugs,” said Erik Baptist, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The ruling on mifepristone does not have any impact on Plan-B, a well-known contraceptive.