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SCOTUS To Hear Oral Arguments on FDA’s Decisions on Dangerous Chemical Abortion Pills

Girl taking white pill and holding glass of water

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced that it will hear arguments this term about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decisions regarding access to the chemical abortion drug, Mifepristone. The hearings will specifically pertain to the FDA’s decisions in 2016, 2021, and 2023 to loosen restrictions for this pill and whether or not the challengers have standing to bring their case.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erin Hawley shared this about the case: “Every court so far has agreed that the FDA acted unlawfully in removing common-sense safeguards for women and authorizing dangerous mail-order abortions. We urge the Supreme Court to do the same. The FDA has harmed the health of women and undermined the rule of law by illegally removing every meaningful safeguard from the chemical abortion drug regimen. Like any federal agency, the FDA must rationally explain its decisions. Yet its removal of common-sense safeguards—like a doctor’s visit before women are prescribed chemical abortion drugs—does not reflect scientific judgment but rather a politically driven decision to push a dangerous drug regimen.”

Background on the Case

When the FDA originally approved the chemical abortion drug Mifepristone in the year 2000, a number of important safeguards were put into place, including:

  • A limit only allowing the drug to be administered up to 7-weeks gestational age of the unborn child;
  • Necessary doctor’s office visits;
  • In-person physician dispensing and administration of the medication; and
  • Non-fatal adverse event reporting.

In 2016, the FDA loosened some restrictions, allowing:

  • Prescriptions of the chemical to be made via telehealth;
  • Non-physician providers to place orders for the drug;
  • Prescriptions up to 10-weeks gestational of the unborn child;
  • Elimination of the reporting of non-fatal events.

In 2021, the FDA further allowed Mifepristone to be shipped to patients through the mail, and earlier this year, they permanently removed the in-person dispensing requirement. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled earlier this year that the FDA must reimplement these safeguards.

How Mifepristone Works

Mifepristone is typically administered up to ten weeks gestation and blocks progesterone from the mother, depriving the baby of the nutrients it needs to grow and survive. This effectively starves the baby to death. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to 48 hours later and causes the uterus to contract in order to expel the dead baby.

While mifepristone is advertised as safe and effective, it is not without serious possible side effects. Even the mild side effects include abdominal pain, fever, anemia, and vomiting, and the more severe side effects can lead to death. The drug is listed with an important warning outlining the potential for life-threatening bleeding and infections, emphasizing the risks involved with taking this drug.

The Bottom Line

This case has the potential to drastically reduce the number of abortions in America. In 2021, out of 625,978 reported abortions, up to 54% of them were chemical. Reinstating additional regulations could instantly save thousands of lives across the country. Regardless of how SCOTUS rules, though, just by hearing the case, they are opening the doors to share the dangers of chemical abortions with more women across the country. The media coverage alone will spark a substantial amount of conversation surrounding the “safety” of this drug.

It is expected that we will hear a decision in June of 2024. Let us pray together for a decision that will protect mothers and their unborn children- and pray that these events will open women’s eyes to the lies that they have been told about abortion.


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