Mifepristone is one of two drugs used in medication abortions, and it can also be used to treat miscarriages. Although the Supreme Court protected access to it last week, a Texas judge’s decision to throw out legal approval of the drug is still making its way through the courts.
Mifepristone is still accessible in Massachusetts and several other states, but gynecologists and obstetricians say the ruling has caused mass confusion among their patients and fellow doctors.
Doctors on Greater Boston said the legal limbo and its implications on abortion access is scary.
"It's really hard to keep up with every new ruling, every new headline about what the state of mifepristone is," said Dr. Luu Ireland, a gynecologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
"This is the exact intent of these rulings," she said. "It's to create a situation in which folks are confused or physicians are afraid to provide care."
Dr. Katharine White, associate director of the Complex Family Planning Fellowship at Boston Medical Center, said restricting access to mifepristone could impact people who have miscarriages.
“One in three people having a pregnancy will have a pregnancy loss," she said. "So a lot of people also experiencing something as devastating as a miscarriage can be affected by this ruling.”
White helps to train new residents, fellows and students. She said those young doctors have to choose carefully where they decide to practice medicine, because abortion laws are different in every state.
"I have to reassure patients that all of this confusion is not about safety, and is not about health," White said. "It is about control. The health care that they're getting right now is as safe as it's ever been."
She added, "We are one presidential election away from potentially losing [abortion access] across the country."
Watch: Mifepristone ruling ‘sets a dangerous precedent’: Gynecologists on treating patients uncertain time