Seventeen Democrat legislators from Minnesota have attached their names to an amicus brief last week that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court decision that would roll back the public’s access to mifepristone, an abortion-inducing medication.
The DFLers joined a group of more than 600 Democrat legislators from 49 states in signing onto the brief, which asks the nation’s highest court to reject the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ August ruling in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine that concluded several decisions the FDA took in 2016 to make mifepristone more broadly available to women were illegal.
The U.S. Supreme Court in April issued a temporary stay of the fifth circuit’s ruling, which means mifepristone is still available to those seeking an abortion. The medication accounts for about 60 percent of abortions in Minnesota annually, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health.
If the Supreme Court denies the appeal or affirms the appellate court’s ruling, the FDA’s rules that allowed expanded access of mifepristone would be struck down.
The amicus brief was written by the State Innovation Exchange’s Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council. The San Francisco-based left-leaning 501c4 was founded in 2014 to promote progressive activism in state legislatures across the country, according Influence Watch. Its primary funding source is the Democracy Alliance, whose largest donors are George Soros and Tom Steyer. It’s run by former Obama administration official and longtime Democrat operative, Nick Rathod.
FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine would be the first abortion-related case to come before the Supreme Court since it overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling challenges the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of two types of medication used to induce an abortion. In the amicus brief, the Democrat state legislators argue that if the Fifth Circuit’s decision goes into effect, it would undermine the FDA’s authority to approve medications on the market, which lawmakers rely on to safeguard access to essential medications.
The DFL legislators from Minnesota who signed the amicus brief include:
- Rep. Kristin Bahner, Maple Grove
- Rep. Sydney Jordan, Minneapolis
- Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, Eden Prairie
- Rep Alicia Kozlowski, Duluth
- Rep. Larry Kraft, St. Louis Park
- Rep. Tina Liebling, Rochester
- Rep. Jamie Long, Minneapolis
- Rep. Liz Olson, Duluth
- Rep. Dave Pinto, St Paul
- Rep. Andy Smith, Rochester
- Rep. Liz Boldon, Rochester
- Sen. Scott Dibble, Minneapolis
- Sen. Erin Maye Quade, Apple Valley
- Sen. Erin Murphy, St. Paul
- Sen. Sandy Pappas, St. Paul
- Sen. Lindsay Port, Burnsville
- Rep. Mike Freiberg, Golden Valley
Sen. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley, was one of two legislators who signed onto the brief who were quoted in a press release circulated by State Innovation Exchange.
“The type of pregnancy care someone gets shouldn’t depend on whether they live in a blue state or red state, but that’s exactly the reality we’re living in,” said Maye Quade, who also works for Gender Justice, a non-profit legal advocacy group that works for abortion rights.
“The case before the Supreme Court brings the effort to ban abortion to Minnesota and could override Minnesotans’ legal and constitutional right to make healthy decisions about our own bodies — and hinder our ability to provide care for both Minnesotans and those traveling from restrictive states for abortion care,” Maye Quade continued. “We simply can’t afford yet another blow to the patchwork of abortion access nationwide.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing the plaintiffs in the case, argued that the FDA “never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use” and “ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls.”
“The 5th Circuit correctly held the FDA accountable for failing to do its job and rightfully restored crucial safeguards for women and girls, including ending illegal mail-order abortions,” ADF senior counsel Erin Hawley said in a recent statement.
“The FDA’s recent actions on chemical abortion drugs have harmed the health of countless women and girls and undermined the rule of law by illegally removing every meaningful safeguard from the chemical abortion drug regimen. The FDA’s unprecedented actions did not reflect scientific judgment but rather revealed politically driven decisions to push a dangerous drug regimen without regard to women’s health.”
Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.