‘US women should not be intimidated’ – Dutch doctor will keep providing abortion pills to Americans

Two women on the frontlines of the debate over women’s right to choose on Thursday (April 13) said that they will continue to prescribe and ship mifepristone and misoprostol, the abortion medicine at the center of the latest reproductive rights legal battle in America.

Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, founder of ‘Women on Waves’ and the doctor running Aid Access, an online service prescribing and shipping abortion medication worldwide called the ruling a ‘distraction’ from what she says is a fundamental human right.

“So the ruling in does not affect the work of Aid Access,” she told Reuters Television. “We will continue, the doctors that work with Aid Access [from Europe and outside the US] will continue to help women in the United States with access to medication abortion, with mifopristone and misoprostol.”

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday (April 12) upheld a lower court order that confined use of the pill to the first seven weeks of pregnancy and required in-person doctor visits to obtain it.

Mifepristone is used with another drug called misoprostol to perform medication abortion, which accounts for more than half of U.S. abortions. It is widely considered the safest and most effective mode of medication abortion in many parts of the world.

President Joe Biden’s administration has moved to defend access to the drug. Major U.S. medical groups, including the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have said the judge’s ruling is unsupported by science, and that mifepristone’s safety has been confirmed by hundreds of studies and more than two decades of experience. But anti-abortion groups led by the recently formed Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and four anti-abortion doctors sued the FDA in November seeking to pull approval of misoprostol and consider the medication unsafe and dangerous.

While several U.S. telehealth practices said they had already switched to providing misoprostol-only abortion regimens, co-founder of the nonprofit abortion advocacy website Plan C Elisa Wells said that restrictions such as the one triggered by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas last Friday could generate an increase in medicine providers.

“We know it’s still possible to receive pills by mail in all 50 states through these alternate networks of pill suppliers. And we believe those pill suppliers will just grow in volume as restrictions come down,” she said.

Gomperts, who founded Aid Access in 2018, and has been circumventing abortion bans for over 20 years around the world originally from a boat in international waters and later on through the web, said that women in the US should not feel scared. “Women shouldn’t be intimidated by these rulings and judges and everybody that has tried to have a say over their bodies,” she said.

The court battle over mifepristone has drawn widespread attention as the most consequential abortion case since the U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established federal abortion rights. “America should be perceived as a modern democracy where we have access to health care,” Wells said. “It’s disgraceful to have to tell people how bad it is here with respect to abortion care and access.”