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Supreme Court Considers Challenge to FDA’s Approval of Chemical Abortion Drugs

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA after regulators prioritized pro-abortion ideology and recklessly disregarded the safety of women in their approval of the abortion medication mifepristone. Unsurprisingly, Governor Newsom weighed in to promote his abortion-on-demand agenda. 

Pro-life doctors, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, are challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, which accounts for over half (63%) of all abortions in the country. The pro-life physicians, who largely succeeded in earlier court rulings, argue that the abortion pill poses risks to women by not fully expelling fetal tissue, potentially leading to significant bleeding. They note that in approximately 3.1% of these instances, the fetus may survive, compelling emergency room doctors who are pro-life to perform an abortion to preserve the woman’s life or health.

The Court’s decision will focus on whether to uphold a ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which suggested that the FDA may have violated the law by authorizing the distribution of abortion pills through mail and other methods.

In 2016, the FDA significantly loosened safety protocols for abortion drugs, reducing required doctor visits, broadening prescriber eligibility, extending drug use to 10 weeks of pregnancy, and stopping the mandate to report severe complications. During the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2021, the FDA scrapped the final significant safety measure by allowing abortion drugs to be provided without a mandatory in-person consultation, leading to the possibility of mail and telemedicine-based chemical abortions. This policy was made permanent in December 2021. Consequently, ADF attorneys have filed a lawsuit against the FDA’s lax regulations on abortion medications.

In her initial remarks, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, speaking on behalf of the FDA, contended that the pro-life physicians involved in the lawsuit lacked legal standing. She argued that the complainants had not identified any particular doctor at immediate risk of compromising their ethical beliefs by being compelled to finalize an incomplete medication-induced abortion. The contention that these doctors lack legal standing overlooks the profound ethical dilemmas they face, caught between their commitment to preserving life and the pressures of an increasingly abortion-centric healthcare system.

In response, Justice Clarence Thomas questioned who, if not these doctors, would have standing, a sentiment echoed by Justice Samuel Alito. Prelogar conceded the difficulty in identifying who might have standing, noting the barrier of sovereign immunity that protects the government from civil suits.

Erin Hawley of Alliance Defending Freedom, representing the doctors, cited FDA data indicating risks associated with mifepristone, including emergency room visits and the need for surgical intervention in 2.9 to 7% of cases. Hawley also highlighted the ethical dilemma faced by doctors due to the unsupervised nature of medication abortions, forcing them to choose between aiding at-risk women and participating in the abortion process.

Pro-life OB-GYN Ingrid Skop said, “The FDA’s decision to weaken commonsense safeguards, removing doctors from the process, shows they prioritize ending unborn life over the health and safety of women. As a practicing OB-GYN with over 30 years of experience, I have seen how abortion drugs have harmed my patients, both mothers and their unborn children.”

Governor Newsom issued a statement promoting his radical pro-choice agenda ahead of the arguments, saying, “Republicans want a national abortion ban. Full stop. And they’ll do whatever it takes – including trying to strip away FDA approval for a drug that has been proven to be safe and effective for decades. These hostile actions are not just unpopular, they fly in the face of science and put women at risk. So much is at stake today: reproductive freedom; the scientific process by which our country has approved safe, commonly used medication for decades; and our innovation economy – which, among other things, relies on the FDA drug approval process. This should scare the hell out of everyone. These extremists will continue working to roll back rights, and we cannot waver in our work to stop them.”

In reality, true reproductive freedom includes access to comprehensive information about fertility, pregnancy, and the support available for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Medical advancements must uphold the dignity of all human life and seek solutions that benefit both mother and child. The concern with the FDA’s approval process for abortion drugs like mifepristone is not at all about denying women healthcare but ensuring their safety. The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is rightfully calling for transparency and integrity in the drug approval process, ensuring that drugs, especially those as significant as abortion-inducing ones, are subjected to rigorous, unbiased review. 

“CFC stands proudly with the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and Alliance Defending Freedom as they fight back against the FDA’s apparent disregard for the life and well-being of both women and their unborn children,” said CFC Vice President Greg Burt. “The easing of safety protocols and the shift towards mail-order and telemedicine-based chemical abortions not only compromise the health and safety of women, but also further entrench the tragic practice of abortion in American society.”

“This case is not merely about regulatory oversight; it’s about reaffirming the foundational values that respect life and prioritize genuine healthcare that serves both mothers and their children,” Burt continued. “It calls for a return to a medical ethic that fully informs and protects patients, upholding both the conscience rights of healthcare providers and the foundational principle of ‘first, do no harm.’”



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