Tuesday, 28 November 2023
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Dueling court decisions vie to drive the future of abortion in America

In a bold move to protect women and children from the dangerous drug mifepristone, a Texas judge ruled Friday to suspend the U.S. Food and Drug Association’s approval of this abortion medication. The FDA’s approval and subsequent removal of safety guardrails for mifepristone have come under heavy criticism since it first announced use of this drug in 2000. 

However, political proponents for abortion as well as those seeking financial profit from its approval, such as Danco Laboratories, have continued to support the FDA’s efforts to expand its availability.  

Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal non-profit committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God's design for marriage and family, is the first organization in 23 years to challenge the FDA’s approval of chemical abortion drugs and the removal of necessary protections for women and girls.

Since the decision was announced, at least two federal lawmakers, New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Oregon Sen. Sen. Ron Wyden, have urged President Joe Biden to refuse to enforce the injunction. Others are calling for the FDA to ignore this decision while it is sent to appeals courts. The ruling has prompted some state governors to declare that the abortion pill remains legal in their states, increasing the dividing lines of radical abortion states and prolife states. 

The complaint entitled Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration exposes the biases of many so-called health organizations that have worked to hide a faulty approval process, as well as an abundance of safety concerns and complaints surround mifepristone for more than 23 years. 

While those who value all human life celebrate the decision, which was handed down on Good Friday, abortion rights activists felt the blow to strategies to provide chemical abortion anywhere, anytime in the U.S. 

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The ACLU and others claim they will not let mifepristone be removed from the market without a fight. 

Some politically motivated medical associations, such as ACOG, which bans any type of pro-life information or education at their conferences, falsely claim abortion as a standard of care. ACOG openly advocates “to integrate abortion as a component of mainstream medical care, and to oppose and overturn efforts restricting access to abortion.” 

This opinion by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk stated that the FDA “manipulated and misconstrued” the approval process for mifepristone. 

Kacsmaryk also said in his ruling that the "FDA stonewalled judicial review — until now," and said the agency has ignored petitions targeting mifepristone's approval for more than 16 years. 

Within hours of this ruling, the Biden Justice Department, along with the drug manufacturer Danco Laboratories, whose only product is mifepristone, filed a notice of appeal.

The lawsuit claimed the FDA did not have the power to approve the drug and challenges the agency’s easing of restrictions on the pill through the years, the FDA having continued to remove safeguards despite plenty of evidence of the drug’s dangers to women.

The American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the largest organization of pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists in the world, issued a statement praising the decision: “Today’s ruling places women’s welfare back at the forefront of the conversation on this issue. Our patients deserve excellent healthcare and fully informed consent; this decision helps ensure they receive that.”

Misoprostol, the second drug in a chemical abortion, was never approved for abortion purposes, yet it is combined with mifepristone, due to mifepristone’s ineffectiveness in completing an abortion. Some abortion providers have threatened to use this drug alone off-label if mifepristone is unavailable. The single-drug regimen is less effective to end a pregnancy, often requiring repeated doses, and often causes additional side effects.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, another judge ruled to remove dispensing restrictions for mifepristone, overtly prohibiting the FDA from removing its approval of the drug. The extraordinary timing of the competing decisions revealed the high stakes of abortion in America since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

The Associated Press reports that Democrats had mounted lawsuits to protect access in at least these states. 

Judge Thomas O. Rice partially granted a request from 17 states and the District of Columbia. While the states sued to expand access to the pill, Rice did not go that far. Rather he blocked the FDA from making any changes to the drug’s access in the states that sued.

It is unclear if the FDA can simultaneously comply with both landmark rulings. However, many say it is highly likely the Supreme Court will once again be asked to rule on abortion in America.

Tweet This: It's unclear if the FDA can comply with both rulings. It is likely the Supreme Court will again be asked to rule on abortion in America.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.

Christa Brown

Christa Brown BSN, RN, LAS is Senior Director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International

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