WMC Supports State Protection of MDs and PAs Who Prescribe Mifepristone and Provide Reproductive Health Care
The Washington Medical Commission (WMC) is taking proactive steps to assure Washington licensed providers that, regardless of action in other states, medication abortions will remain classified as reproductive health care services and well within the standard of care in the State of Washington.
The most common medication abortion regimen in the U.S. involves the use of two different medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. Currently, access to mifepristone, which has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for two decades, is the focus of legal challenges.
On April 7, 2023, conflicting rulings on mifepristone were issued by two separate federal court judges, one in Texas and one in Washington. Because these two federal court rulings conflict, the Supreme Court could be called upon to resolve this conflict.
In Washington, legislators and the governor supported bills this session which protect access to reproductive health care and mifepristone. The Washington state Department of Corrections (DOC), using its existing pharmacy license, recently purchased a three-year supply of mifepristone. Additionally, there is pending legislation which would authorize the DOC to distribute or sell mifepristone to Washington’s licensed health care providers.
The WMC finds that,
Participation in reproductive health care services, including the prescription of mifepristone by health care providers, does not constitute unprofessional conduct under the Uniform Disciplinary Act (UDA) and may not serve as the solitary basis for professional discipline. And further, a conviction or disciplinary action based solely on a health care provider's violation of another state's laws prohibiting participation in reproductive health care services or gender-affirming treatment does not constitute unprofessional conduct under the UDA and may not serve as the basis for professional discipline, with some exceptions. Within these laws and regulatory interpretation, the WMC retains its ability to take action against practitioners who violate the standard of care in their prescription of any drug.
The WMC is committed to protecting access to reproductive health care and the practitioners who provide such care. Therefore, MDs and PAs in Washington who continue to provide a full spectrum of reproductive health care services, which may include prescribing mifepristone, may generally do so within the standard of care and without concern for their licenses being at risk.
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