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NCQAC supports state protection of ARNPs who prescribe mifepristone and provide the full scope of reproductive health care

May 12, 2023

The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) joins the Washington Medical Commission in taking proactive steps to assure Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) licensed in Washington that, regardless of action in other states, medication abortions, remain included within the scope of 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, which were both approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) two decades ago. Currently, access to mifepristone is the focus of legal challenges in the U.S.

On April 7, 2023, conflicting rulings on the use of mifepristone were issued by two separate federal court judges, one in Texas and one in Washington. Because these two federal court rulings conflict, the U.S. Supreme Court was called upon to resolve this conflict.

In Washington, legislators and Governor Inslee supported bills during the last legislative session which protect access to reproductive health care and mifepristone.

NCQAC extends protection to Washington state ARNPs who prescribe mifepristone for the purpose of medical termination of pregnancy through ten weeks gestation.

NCQAC 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 NCQAC retains its ability to take action against practitioners who violate the standard of care in their prescription of any drug.

DOH Washington State Regulation of Health Professionals and Abortions FAQ

NCQAC is committed to protecting and supporting access to the full scope of reproductive health care and the nurses who provide such care.

Therefore, ARNPs in Washington who continue to provide the full spectrum of reproductive health care services, which may include prescribing mifepristone, may do so following appropriate standards of care and without concern for their licenses being at risk.