Friday’s decision by a Texas federal court damages safe reproductive health care for South Coast Residents.
Our Bodies Our Lives Coalition for Reproductive Justice and Bodily Autonomy, formed in the spring of 2022 when a draft leaked indicating that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, is outraged by the egregious ruling handed down by the Northern District Court of Texas. The decision threatens to outlaw access to safe and necessary medical abortion here in the South Coast.
Federal Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the Northern District Court of Texas ruled that mifepristone, a common drug used in medication abortion, was improperly investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it was authorized for use in 2000 and must be withdrawn from the market immediately. The federal court decision affects pharmacies and medical providers across the United States, including Massachusetts.
Mifepristone has been used safely in the United States for 23 years as part of a two-drug procedure to terminate pregnancy in the first weeks of gestation and accounts for over half of all pregnancy terminations.
On the South Coast, medication abortion is provided by Health Imperatives, a nonprofit agency offering sexual and reproductive health care. including birth control, HIV prevention, and gender affirming hormone therapy, especially for low-income and vulnerable families. Elizabeth Torrent of Health Imperatives noted that her agency is committed to providing safe, effective, and critical health care services for underserved populations in Southeastern Massachusetts. “We are pleased that the Department of Public Health selected us to expand our services to include medication abortion, and we will continue to fulfill that commitment to the best of our ability regardless of the Texas ruling on mifepristone.”
Our Bodies Our Lives is concerned for maternal health care for low-income residents of the South Coast, who are strategically disadvantaged by limited resources and inattentive health systems. Historically, this reality disproportionately impacts the lives of countless people of color and low-income households.
The resources to confront and rectify these inequities are significantly limited and put reproductive rights in jeopardy, particularly in our area.
By the time Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022, it was clear that not only abortion but access to birth control and hard-won LBGTQ+ rights could also be in jeopardy. The mission of the coalition is to educate, empower, engage, facilitate, support, and protect the right to personal body freedom.
The coalition hopes to bring together South Coast organizations and agencies that support the rights to determine whether and when to become a parent and to make decisions regarding their own bodies. The coalition aims to foster collaboration among area organizations to create healthy, safe and sustainable communities. Interested area residents are invited to join the coalition to defend reproductive and maternal services. Please contact us.
Gail Fortes is executive director of YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts. She can be reached at email@example.com. Andy Pollock is president of SouthCoast LBGTQ+ Network and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.