When my younger sister was just 15 years old, she became pregnant and received an abortion. It was a deeply personal and difficult decision. But it was the right one for her, because she had the freedom to choose how to approach a life-altering path. Her choice allowed her to make it through her teenage years without having to raise a child she wasn’t prepared for. And, when the time was right, she later became a mother to two beautiful children. But today, the freedom my sister exercised is not a guarantee for everyone.

In the nine months since the catastrophic Dobbs decision, 13 states have completely outlawed abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. Five others have severely restricted it. And six more are pursuing all-out bans of their own. To add further insult to injury, the freedom to choose was further undermined last month when a Trump-appointed judge — Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas — issued a ruling that would suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, a safe abortion medication that’s been on the market for more than two decades.

Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling was as flawed as it was political. It put ideological will before proven science and, with the stroke of a pen, threatened to block access to a medication that is used for more than half of all abortions in America. Mifepristone allows those who can become pregnant to safely terminate a pregnancy. It also is used in other medical situations, from miscarriage management to the management of second and third trimester pregnancies when the fetus has died before birth. Taking this drug off the market would completely upend reproductive care in this country — not to mention the fact that it sets a dangerous precedent for all drugs subject to FDA approval.

In the wake of Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling, I joined more than 200 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on an amicus brief asking for an appeals court to stay the Texas court’s ruling. Shortly after our brief was published, an appeals court ruled to allow mifepristone to remain on the market, albeit under severe restrictions that would have prevented distribution through the mail and use after seven weeks — before many women even know they’re pregnant. But that’s not where this fight ended.

On April 21, the Supreme Court intervened against the original ruling by Judge Kacsmaryk, preserving the status quo and allowing mifepristone to remain on the market. That’s undeniably good news — but it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. Fortunately, the decision out of Texas wasn’t the only significant mifepristone ruling to be issued last month. On the very same day that Judge Kacsmaryk issued his ruling, Judge Thomas Rice of Washington state issued a conflicting ruling affirming full access to mifepristone in Washington, D.C., and 17 states, including Oregon. Judge Rice’s ruling makes it clear that mifepristone will remain safe and legal in the state of Oregon, even as politicians and judicial activists work to ban it elsewhere.

Furthermore, Gov. Tina Kotek recently announced that her administration has stockpiled a three-year supply of mifepristone to prepare for the unthinkable. Gov. Kotek’s proactive response will help ensure Oregonians won’t have to worry about their ability to access mifepristone in the near-term. In addition, it also allows us to continue supporting individuals from other states who come to Oregon seeking reproductive care.

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade has been devastating. But as traumatic as the Dobbs ruling was, it’s clear the fight to protect choice is still ongoing. Even now, far-right organizations are working to further erode reproductive care in America, including in Oregon. We are protected today — but we cannot take tomorrow for granted nor can we sit idly by. Too much is at stake for us to sit on the sidelines as reproductive freedom continues to come under assault in this country. We must protect mifepristone for all who need it — and we must soldier on in the fight to restore the freedom to choose in all 50 states.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the best independent source of news and analysis of Oregon state government delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Congresswoman Andrea Salinas represents Oregon’s 6th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Beaverton, Tigard, King City, Tualatin, Sherwood, Newberg, Wilsonville and Woodburn.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.