December 18, 2023

US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Abortion Pill Case

On December 13, the US Supreme Court agreed to consider cases regarding the federal regulation of abortion pills.

The Supreme Court is consolidating two abortion pill cases to hear next yearF.D.A. v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. Both cases involve a coalition of pro-life physicians challenging the FDA approval and regulation of mifepristone.

Mifepristone kills unborn children by blocking the pregnancy hormone progesterone. Progesterone helps facilitate the flow of oxygen and nutrients from a mother's body to her unborn children. After a mother takes mifepristone, her child will likely die of starvation and asphyxiation. After the child dies, the mother will take misoprostol to induce labor and expel the deceased child.

Mifepristone was approved in 2000 under President Bill Clinton's administration. One of the arguments used by the pro-life physicians is that the approval process Clinton used to fast-track the approval of mifepristone is intended for the approval of life-threatening diseases. The physicians filed an official petition with the FDA in 2002, but bureaucracy stonewalled them for decades.

US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk wrote in his April 2023 ruling,
"Simply put, FDA stonewalled judicial review — until now. Before Plaintiffs filed this case, FDA ignored their petitions for over sixteen years, even though the law requires an agency response within '180 days of receipt of the petition.' But FDA waited 4,971 days to adjudicate Plaintiffs’ first petition and 994 days to adjudicate the second. Had FDA responded to Plaintiffs’ petitions within the 360 total days allotted, this case would have been in federal court decades earlier. Instead, FDA postponed and procrastinated for nearly 6,000 days."
Kacsmaryk's ruling would have suspended the availability of mifepristone, but that ruling was overturned on appeal. The Supreme Court will only consider FDA regulatory changes made during the Obama and Biden administrations that allowed abortion pills to be used later in pregnancy and be mailed directly to customers without visiting a doctor in person.

The in-person visit helps ensure a mother's safety by determining the age of the preborn child and checking for ectopic pregnancy. Attempting abortion via pills is more dangerous when the child reaches a higher gestational age, and it can be deadly when attempted with an ectopic pregnancy.