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Update on Medication Abortion

While the April 7, 2023, Texas district court’s decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA threatens access to mifepristone, it is important to know that medication abortion continues to be approved and available for the time being. The Biden-Harris Administration will vigorously fight to protect access to critical reproductive health care and to medications that FDA has determined to be safe and effective. The Supreme Court has granted a stay while the case proceeds through the courts.

The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to protecting reproductive rights, ensuring women can make their own decisions about their own bodies, and preserving the FDA’s authority to make science-based determinations about what medications are safe and effective. Read statements from President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Know Your Rights: Reproductive Health Care

Reproductive health care, including access to birth control and safe and legal abortion care, is an essential part of your health and well-being. While Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion remains legal in many states, and other reproductive health care services remain protected by law. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to providing you with accurate and up-to-date information about access to and coverage of reproductive health care and resources. Our goal is to make sure you have appropriate information and support.

Your Reproductive Rights

Below you will find information on your right to access care and have it covered by your insurance or other health care coverage if you have it, where to go if you don’t have coverage, and how to get information if you don’t know.

Most health insurance plans – whether you get coverage through your employer, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, or elsewhere – cover family planning counseling, birth control, and other preventive services at no cost to you. Federal law allows for federally-funded plans (e.g. Medicaid) to cover abortion in certain circumstances, and some private health insurance plans also cover abortion care.

Your Right to Emergency Care

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires that, for any individual showing up to a Medicare-participating hospital emergency room with an emergency medical condition, the hospital is required to offer the stabilizing medical care necessary to save your health or life, including abortion care. Emergency medical conditions involving pregnant patients may include, but are not limited to, ectopic pregnancy, complications of a pregnancy loss, or emergent hypertensive disorders, such as preeclampsia with severe features. To learn more click here.

Please note: pursuant to the preliminary injunction in Texas v. Becerra, No. 5:22-CV-185-H (N.D. Tex.), HHS may not enforce the following interpretations contained in the July 11, 2022, CMS guidance (and the corresponding letter sent the same day by HHS Secretary Becerra): (1) the Guidance and Letter’s interpretation that Texas abortion laws are preempted by EMTALA; and (2) the Guidance and Letter’s interpretation of EMTALA — both as to when an abortion is required and EMTALA’s effect on state laws governing abortion — within the State of Texas or against the members of the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA).

Your Right to Birth Control

Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans are required to provide you with birth control and family planning counseling with no out-of-pocket costs. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hormonal methods, like birth control pills and vaginal rings
  • Implanted devices, like intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Emergency contraception, like Plan B® and ella®
  • Barrier methods, like diaphragms and sponges
  • Patient education and counseling
  • Sterilization procedures
  • And any additional contraceptives approved, granted, or cleared by the FDA

To learn more about birth control coverage requirements for different types of health insurance plans, visit here. To learn more about contraceptive methods, visit here.

Your Right to Medication

Under guidance issued by HHS, roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies were reminded of the unique role they play in ensuring access to health care services under federal civil rights laws. The guidance makes clear that as recipients of federal financial assistance, pharmacies are prohibited under law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in their programs and activities. This includes supplying medications; making determinations regarding the suitability of a prescribed medication for a patient; and advising patients about medications and how to take them.

Read the guidance sent to the nation's retail pharmacies

Your Right to Access Abortion

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, access to abortion will depend on the state you live in even more than before.

  • Medication abortion has been approved by the FDA since 2000 as a safe and effective option. Medication abortion currently is available by telehealth, including dispensing by mail via pharmacies and certified prescribers, in addition to in-person dispensing in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals.
  • If you are covered through Medicaid:
    • Under federal law, federal Medicaid funds cover abortion only in the circumstances of rape, incest or if the patient’s life is in danger. However, there are over a dozen states that provide more comprehensive coverage for abortion using state Medicaid funds. To find out more on state funding of abortions under Medicaid visit this website.
  • If you are covered through private health insurance (plans through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or through your employer):
    • Coverage will vary by state, employer, and insurance company. In some states, private health insurance plans (e.g., plans through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or through your employer) are required or allowed to cover abortion either in all or certain circumstances. Review your plan benefits document to find out whether your plan covers abortion. If you are using a plan where you are not the primary policy holder (e.g. if you are on a parent’s or spouse’s plan), be mindful that the policy holder may receive documentation from the plan, known as an “Explanation of Benefits,” that includes information about your care.
  • If you need help paying for an abortion, abortion funds may be able to provide financial assistance. Information about abortion funds and resources to help are available at
  • If you need information on your state’s laws or legal help, you may consider this website:

Your Right to Access Other Preventive Health Services

Under law, most health insurance plans must cover certain other preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs under the Affordable Care Act. Most health insurance plans are required to cover women’s preventive health services, including:

  • Well-woman visits to screen your health at any time, including a pap smear, breast exam and regular checkup
  • Counseling and screening services
  • Breast and cervical cancer screenings
  • Prenatal care, which is care you would receive while pregnant
  • Breastfeeding services and supplies
  • Interpersonal violence screening and counseling (e.g., sexual assault evidence collection exams)
  • HIV screening and STI counseling

If You Do Not Have Health Insurance Coverage

HHS Complaints

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in health programs receiving federal financial assistance. If you believe that your or another person’s civil rights or health information privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with HHS here.

Patient Privacy

Understand your rights to protect your private medical information under federal law. If you think your privacy has been violated, please visit: How to File a HIPAA Complaint to file a complaint.

The guidance on Protecting the Privacy and Security of Your Health Information When Using Your Personal Cell Phone or Tablet may be found here.

The guidance on the HIPAA Privacy Rule and Disclosures of Information Relating to Reproductive Health Care may be found here.

The guidance on the Use of Online Tracking Technologies by HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates may be found here.

Department of Justice Resources

The U.S. Department of Justice is also working to protect access to reproductive health services under federal law. Visit the Justice Department's Reproductive Rights Task Force website for more information.