Abortion pill legal challenge threatens miscarriage care

May 6, 2023  -Less than a year after losing her daughter Emilia at five days old, Jillian Phillips suffered a miscarriage.

It was Halloween weekend in 2016, and her doctor said she could wait for it to end naturally, have a surgical procedure or take medication. She chose the medicine, passed the remains of her nine-week pregnancy at home and buried them in a memorial garden, near some of Emilia’s ashes.

“Once I found out that the baby inside me was no longer viable, I didn’t want to just walk around carrying the emotional trauma of that,” said Phillips, a 41-year-old single mother of three from North Brookfield, Mass. “You just kind of want it finished. And the medication works pretty quickly.”

Remains of her miscarriage and those of her deceased child are buried in the yard at Jillian Philips’ home. (AP Photo/Reba Saldanha)

But the future of this common miscarriage treatment is in peril. The pill, mifepristone, is used in abortions, making it a target.

Last month, a federal judge in Texas ruled to block mifepristone’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The Supreme Court later preserved access to the drug while the lawsuit winds through the courts, a long road that continues with arguments before an appeals court on May 17.

Doctors and patients fear mifepristone could be pulled off the market when the legal wrangling ends. Already, they say, a chilling effect keeps some doctors from prescribing it.

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