Jared Lathrop, Dir. of Marketing & Communications
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance Files Legal Challenge Against U.S. Food & Drug Administration
This case marks the first case of an abortion provider suing the FDA in response to the legal challenges following rulings from the Supreme Court of United States on Mifepristone, the preferred method of medication abortion in the United States.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA–Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) a non-profit abortion provider and advocacy organization has teamed up other independent abortion care providers to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to seek relief from the changes in distribution of Mifepristone, the medication abortion pill. The case is called Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. Whole Woman’s Health, et. Al. v. the FDA. The provider plaintiffs in this case are from Virginia, Kansas and Montana – all key states ensuring access to safe abortion care in the post-Roe landscape after the Dobbs decision went into effect in June 2022. They are suing on behalf of themselves and their patients to ensure that access to Mifepristone – the gold standard in medication abortion care – can be protected in Virginia, Kansas and Montana no matter what happens with the lawsuit filed in Texas, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA that sought to overturn the FDA’s approval of the medication and restrict distribution throughout the entire country.
Clinics owned and managed by WWH and WWHA in Virginia provide both first and second trimester in-clinic abortion procedures and provide medication abortion care – both in-clinic and with telemedicine via the mail – up to 11 weeks. In addition to high-quality health care services, the fully bilingual clinic staff create an individualized experience and help patients shed personal and cultural shame and/or stigma around abortion care and offer care with the respect and dignity all people deserve.
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance is requesting that they be able to continue to offer Mifepristone to patients throughout Virginia, both in-clinic and through Virtual Care/Pills by Mail. They also request that REMS allowing Nurse Practitioners to provide abortion pills by kept in place. Medication abortion with Mifepristone account for over 60% of the abortions provided in the USA and access to these pills is key to provision of abortion care in the USA, especially in this post-Roe landscape where abortion has already been banned in 14 states and severely restricted in others.
“We believe in the safety and efficacy of Mifepristone. The ability for our Virginia patients to receive abortion care on their own terms, whether in a clinic or at home, is paramount to their bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. As an abortion provider with over 20 years of experience, we know firsthand what our patients are looking for when they make an appointment for care. There is no medically accurate reason to withdraw access to Mifepristone for anyone in this country”, said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.
Mifepristone was first approved by the FDA in September 2000 revolutionizing the way abortion care was provided to patients within the United States. Over the years, the FDA has rolled back those restrictions associated with the medication including increasing the LMP for patients, removing the in-clinic distribution requirement, and allowing providers to use the medication off label. Over the past twenty-three years, medication abortion has become the preferred abortion method in the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and eventually permanently through FDA changes, providers and online pharmacies were allowed to ship Mifepristone to patients in states where abortion care is legal. This is the first time that FDA approval process for abortion medication has been tested like this in a Post-Trump Administration court system.
“Many of our folks live in rural areas and do not have close access to abortion services. Getting an abortion shouldn’t require traveling hundreds of miles in a car for a simple healthcare procedure. Over the lifespan of this program, we have also noticed high volumes of patients in metro areas taking advantage of our program, and that speaks to convenience. Without having to come to clinic patients often aren’t required to take time off work, find childcare, or even leave their home. This service is vital to ensuring equal care across our entire state,” said Elizabeth Mehl, Assistant Director of Clinical Services
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance and Whole Woman’s Health clinics and virtual programs continue to see an increase in medication abortion procedures within Virginia. Since 2021, Whole Woman’s Health of Virtual Care has served over 2,500 patients with medication abortions pills by mail, most of them being sent to Virginia patients. The ability to offer patients medication abortion pills by mail has been an important step in accommodating a variety of patients.
About Whole Woman’s Health Alliance: Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) works to strategically shift the stigma around abortion in our culture and is committed to fostering open and honest conversations, lifting all communities, and transforming the abortion care environment. WWHA is a 501(c)3 organization leading powerful stigma eradication, culture change and community education work across the United States. The work is rooted in and informed by direct service work delivering high quality abortion care around the country. WWHA’s largest programs are the operation of clinics in Bloomington, MN, Charlottesville, VA, and South Bend, IN. We are committed to maintaining clinics in challenging places where access to quality abortion care is under attack. For more information: www.wholewomanshealthalliance.org
About Whole Woman’s Health: Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) is a privately-owned healthcare organization, committed to providing holistic reproductive health care. Clinics managed by WWH provide comprehensive gynecology services, including abortion care, in communities where access to abortion is most restricted. It is our philosophy that everyone must be at the center of their own healthcare decisions, and that treating patients holistically will better serve and improve health and happiness in our communities. WWH manages five clinics, located in: Bloomington, MN, Baltimore, MD, South Bend, IN, Charlottesville, VA, and Alexandria, VA. WWH also offers virtual abortion care services in New Mexico, Maryland, and Illinois, Virginia and Minnesota. For more information: www.wholewomanshealth.com