U.S. Supreme Court Decision Regarding Chemical Abortion Drug Leaves Virginia Women and Their Babies in Harm’s Way

The U.S Supreme Court released a decision today in the case Food and Drug Administration (FDA), et al. v. the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) et al. regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decisions in 2016 and 2021 to loosen regulations of the abortion drug mifepristone and whether the challengers had standing to bring their case.

Sadly, the Court unanimously ruled that the challenger, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, did not have standing. The Court did not rule on whether the FDA had acted properly in removing previous safeguards. The reason being the decision is based on standing, the FDA regulations on mifepristone remain. 

“This is a truly unfortunate outcome at this time for us in Virginia which has allowed the distribution of the dangerous abortion drug mifepristone through the mail without any previous doctor visit required for some time. Because Virginia law does not require adequate reporting, no one knows how many chemical abortions have happened here, or how many complications have already occurred from the use of this drug,” said Olivia Gans Turner, president of Virginia Society for Human Life. “Tracking these complications became more difficult in 2016 when the FDA decided that medical personnel and facilities do not need to report complications arising from the use of the abortion pill mifepristone.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research arm of the abortion industry, approximately 63% of all abortions are done using chemical abortion methods like mifepristone and misoprostol.

Mifepristone is used in combination with misoprostol, a prostaglandin, to cause an abortion. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, leading to the death of the unborn baby, while the second drug, misoprostol, causes powerful, painful uterine contractions to expel the dead or dying baby. Complications for women that have been identified with the use of this drug include hemorrhage, infection, and failure to identity rupturing ectopic pregnancies in a timely manner.

“VSHL is hopeful that there will be other challenges to the use of this dangerous drug because, we must not forget that every time mifepristone is used on a pregnant woman she is at risk and her child dies.” said Turner.

Under the Biden Administration, the FDA weakened the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) requirements for the drug combination to allow it to be dispensed and even mailed by pharmacies.

Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, National Right to Life’s Director of Education and Research, addressed the claims of studies demonstrating mifepristone safety in the article, Mifepristone Complications Less Than One Percent? The article can be found here.

In September 2023, National Right to Life released a white paper entitled What the Media Missed in Its Coverage of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Regarding Mifepristone which addressed many of the issues that were before the Fifth Circuit and came before the U.S. Supreme Court. That special report can be accessed here.

A factsheet about the safety and efficacy of mifepristone can be found here.

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