While the GOP has been busy fumbling over their words and positions on abortion, many women are silently suffering as the drug mifepristone has been hanging in limbo due an unprecedented federal court ruling that would ban the drug nationwide.
In response to the ruling, the Supreme Court temporarily extended access to this drug before ultimately deciding on Friday to halt restrictions that would have limited access while many have been left confused about the fate of this necessary prescription drug.
The fight over mifepristone will now return to lower courts, meaning it could be back before the Supreme Court within a few months.
Currently, the drug’s safety is why its status hangs in the balance despite having FDA approval for over 20 years.
But let’s be honest: It’s not the safety of the product that inspired this ruling — it’s because it’s used for medical abortions which the judge in this case has made public opposition statements about. This is just another way for Republicans to pursue their unpopular agenda of a nationwide abortion ban.
However, it’s important to know all the facts. I would like to point out that this drug is also used to help women deal with uterine diseases such as endometriosis, which I suffer from.
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Mifepristone can actually improve fertility for women like me
One of the many symptoms of endometriosis is infertility due to the presence of endometriotic lesions. To combat the symptoms of endometriosis, doctors may prescribe a high dose of progesterone treatment over the course of six months or longer to help shrink the lesions and give women a better chance at becoming pregnant, should they desire to.
How do I know this? Well, I’m one of those 1 in 10 of women who suffer from this awful disease. While the gold standard of care for endometriosis patients is laparoscopic excision surgery (which I had back in 2020), there are other methods to try before such an invasive procedure that can hopefully help stave off symptoms and improve fertility. Medical treatment prescribed by doctors, is often the first line of management for women suffering from endometriosis to help control their pain, stop the further development of endometriotic lesions, and improve their chances of fertility.
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According to the NIH, with laparoscopic, minimally invasive combined drug therapy, mifepristone has “a significant effect, with a more followed-up pregnancy rate, less recurrence, and no drug accumulation side-effects, hence it is worthy of clinical application.”
But thanks to the court ruling, access to this medication that could allow women to address crippling pain and infertility issues has been left hanging in the balance and causing many women to be concerned about what their options can be to have children as they struggle with a debilitating disease.
Women aren’t political props
If Republican lawmakers truly care about women and their safety, they should be in support of keeping mifepristone on the market and leaving these very personal decisions to be ones that are made in consultation with their doctors rather than the government. It is unfathomable to me that it could be removed from pharmacy shelves to score political points.
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The truth is that this drug is medically necessary for all, regardless of why it’s prescribed to you. Banning it takes away reproductive freedoms and access to safe medical treatment for millions of women.
Women need and deserve better from our lawmakers; we are not political props, and these decisions are deeply personal. But, let it be known that we will make our voices heard at the ballot box.
Ashley Pratte Oates, an independent and a former Republican, is a communications strategist, political commentator and a board member of Republican Women for Progress. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.