For 23 years, mifepristone, the first of two drugs in the most used method of abortion in the United States, has offered an exceedingly safe and effective method for early medication abortion care, with study after study confirming its safety and critical role in abortion and miscarriage care. In fact, mifepristone is safer than Tylenol. Since mifepristone was initially approved by the FDA in 2000, more than 5 million people in the United States have safely ended their pregnancies using the drug.
But last week, a federal judge issued a ruling that would revoke FDA approval of mifepristone. The consequences of this case could be incredibly far-reaching — and go as far as taking mifepristone entirely off the market nationwide — even in states where abortion is accessible and protected. The has the potential to strain clinics and providers across the nation who are already grappling with the effects of Roe v. Wade being overturned and abortion banned in states like South Dakota.
This is a key part of the strategy for anti-abortion extremists. They were never going to be satisfied with banning abortion state by state after Roe was overturned. They want to outlaw abortion entirely in every state throughout the nation.
And that’s not their only goal, either. This case alleges to be focused on safety; however, this is a purely politically motivated attack, instigated and funded by extreme anti-abortion actors to further their nationwide agenda to ban abortion, birth control and any other medication or health care procedures – like gender-affirming care for trans youth – that doesn’t align with their ideology.
The ACLU of South Dakota will never stop fighting for reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy. Collectively across the nation, we are standing in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of abortion rights supporters who are turning out to demonstrate our opposition and demand better from our courts. The ACLU has long-fought to expand access to medication abortion care, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal until everyone can access the safe and essential reproductive health care they need.
But we need your help to keep showing broad support for abortion access and demonstrate our fierce opposition to attempts to roll back our reproductive rights. Now more than ever, we have to fight for everyone’s reproductive freedom.
There are four things you can do to change the landscape for abortion access in South Dakota:
- Share accurate information about abortion care and access. If you need an abortion, go to abortionfinder.org to find information on how to access care. Share this website far and wide.
- Commit to having conversations about abortion with your friends and family. Download an abortion conversation guide and to learn how to effectively talk about abortion to help change hearts and minds.
- Donate to JEN, South Dakota’s abortion fund. They direct your donations to people who need help paying for abortion care, including travel expenses and the procedure itself. Giving to our abortion fund is mutual community aid.
- Connect with your legislators early and often. Call, write or email. Show up to in-person events when you are able to do so safely. Let your legislators know how you feel and that you will never stop fighting. Our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness cannot be fulfilled unless we have full agency over our lives. That promise is meaningless when we cannot determine our present and future lives without government intervention.
We are in this fight together, and even when it is hard, we are never alone.
A version of this column also appeared in The Dakota Scout.