Despite Texas ruling, Virginia Planned Parenthood still offers abortion drug — for now
The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood said it will wait to stop prescribing mifepristone for abortions until it receives guidance from the Food and Drug Administration amid conflicting recent court rulings.
A federal judge in Texas last week blocked FDA approval of mifepristone.
The Department of Justice appealed on behalf of the FDA Monday afternoon, asking Fifth Circuit Court judges to stay the Texas order until the appeal is decided.
Until then, Virginia Planned Parenthood doesn’t plan to do anything differently, said spokesperson RaeAnn Pickett.
Pickett said people seeking care are in limbo.
“Patients are confused,” she said. “They don’t know what’s legal.”
Two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, are used in combination to induce an abortion. Mifepristone is also approved for use in patients with Cushing syndrome.
Patients often don’t take these medications past 11 weeks of pregnancy – it loses effectiveness and causes more bleeding and cramps.
Misoprostol is also used by itself to induce abortions, but is less effective without its counterpart. It’s also prescribed in other cases, like after IUD insertions and for managing miscarriages.
Mifepristone, the generic name for Mifeprex, was developed in Europe in the 1980s and approved for use in the U.S. in 2000. It’s that approval the Texas judge sought to block – hours before a federal judge in the state of Washington ruled the opposite.
According to Virginia Planned Parenthood about 60% of the abortions in Virginia are medication-induced rather than surgical. In 2020, about 15,000 abortions – medication and surgical – were performed in Virginia.