Breaking: Supreme Court extends stay permitting access to abortion pill, deadline set for Friday

Breaking: Supreme Court extends stay permitting access to abortion pill, deadline set for Friday (Tima Miroshnichenko/pexels)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito extended his stay on a lower court’s ruling that would have pulled the abortion pill mifepristone from the U.S. market. 

Alito’s extension is the latest development in the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration case. A coalition of pro-life medical organizations and individuals sued the FDA arguing the federal agency’s approval of the chemical abortion drug in 2000 was rushed and reckless – putting women and girls at risk. The doctors say because of this the FDA failed in its mission to protect the public’s health.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk had suspended approval of the chemical abortion drug April 7, with a seven-day stay allowing the Biden administration time to appeal, which the administration did to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pro-life and pregnancy help advocates welcomed Kacsmaryk’s ruling as placing the health of women over the interests of the abortion industry.

Immediately after Kacsmaryk’s opinion was released, a Washington State federal judge issued a decision in contradiction with Kacsmaryk’s, the timing of which prompted speculation of intent to drive the case to the Supreme Court.

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The Fifth Circuit issued a stay on the suspension of mifepristone but halted the drug’s access via the mail and reinstated the original health and safety measures put in place with the FDA’s approval in 2000.

Alito had issued a five-day stay to Kacsmaryk’s decision last Friday, April 14. 

Alito’s extension, an administrative stay, issued on Wednesday the 19th, moves the deadline for the Supreme Court to rule to the evening of Friday, April 21.

Mifepristone is the first in the two-drug chemical abortion regimen. It blocks the progesterone in a pregnant woman’s system, starving her unborn child of necessary nutrients. The second drug, misoprostol, taken a day or so later, prompts the woman to go into labor and deliver her deceased child. 

There are various safety concerns with mifepristone, even when it is dispensed in accord with the FDA’s originally established safety protocols. Additionally, less regulation fosters abuse by human traffickers, critics say, along with emergence of illegal abortion pill websites. 

Tweet This: There are various safety concerns with mifepristone-even when it is dispensed according to the FDA’s originally established safety protocols

Chemical abortions make up more than half of the abortions conducted in the U.S. a expect figure that is expected to rise markedly as abortion proponents push for increased access.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the group of pro-life medical professionals, who filed suit against the FDA in November.

In approving mifepristone, the FDA had labeled pregnancy an “illness” and claimed that the abortion drug has a “meaningful therapeutic benefit.”

The FDA never studied the safety of mifepristone under the labeled conditions of use, the doctors argue in the lawsuit.

They also say the FDA disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions. And they argue that the FDA ignored the potential impact of the hormone-blocking chemical abortion regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, while also eliminating necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo chemical abortion.

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine also says the FDA exceeded its regulatory authority when it approved mifepristone through its Accelerated Approval Program and that the process was permeated by politics favoring abortion proponents. 

Additionally, they say that for decades the FDA stonewalled attempts to petition the agency over safety concerns.

Alito’s April 19 order announced that the “stay issued on April 14, 2023, is hereby extended until 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, April 21, 2023.”

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