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Supreme Court rejects bid to ban abortion pill

BP file photo


WASHINGTON (BP) – The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals and told opponents of the Food and Drug Administration their argument over the safety of mifepristone, commonly known as the abortion pill, should be taken up with the Biden Administration rather than the courts.

Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, is the first time the Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue of abortion since the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. 

“The plaintiffs have sincere legal, moral, ideological and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone. But under Article III of the Constitution, those kinds of objections alone do not establish a justiciable case or controversy in federal court,” the opinion said.

“Here, the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that FDA’s relaxed regulatory requirements likely would cause them to suffer an injury in fact. For that reason, the federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions. The plaintiffs may present their concerns and objections to the President and FDA in the regulatory process, or to Congress and the President in the legislative process,” they said.

“The court is sending a clear signal it would prefer this question be settled elsewhere. Unfortunately, by not ruling on the merits and allowing this drug to remain available on procedural grounds, the court is affording more time for the abortion industry to target vulnerable mothers with these harmful chemicals. Preborn lives will inevitably be lost as a result. That is what makes today’s loss so heartbreaking,” said Brent Leatherwood, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president.

“While, of course, new legal challenges may emerge, and the ERLC will look for opportunities to engage, we all should be resolute in our efforts to elect leaders and support legislative solutions that protect innocent lives and defend mothers against the predatory abortion industry.”

The court said the lower court’s ruling went beyond the authority of the judicial branch. Citing a previous case, they wrote, “No principle is more fundamental to the judiciary’s proper role in our system of government than the constitutional limitation of federal-court jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies.”

The opinion said pro-life advocates should “express their views about abortion and mifepristone to fellow citizens, including in the political and electoral processes,” in this case.

Originally approved by the FDA in 2000, mifepristone is reportedly used for more than half of all abortions in the United States. The drug is made by New-York based Danco Laboratories and is used in combination with a second drug, misoprostol, in medication abortions.

In September of 2023, both the Biden administration and Danco appealed to the Supreme Court to review and reverse the Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling.

“While, of course, new legal challenges may emerge, and the ERLC will look for opportunities to engage, we all should be resolute in our efforts to elect leaders and support legislative solutions that protect innocent lives and defend mothers against the predatory abortion industry,” said Leatherwood.

According to the ERLC, the plaintiffs believed the FDA improperly approved mifepristone and made changes to the advised use of this drug during the COVID pandemic such as:

  • expanded mail-order access to the drug
  • allowing for its prescription three weeks further along in a woman’s pregnancy
  • removing other safety precautions to protect women against medical emergencies such as unchecked internal bleeding as a result of an ectopic pregnancy or other complication with a chemical abortion

The Alliance also claims the FDA failed to adequately consider the risks of the drug and that it violates the Comstock Act, an 1873 law prohibiting the mailing of “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” materials. Additionally, the plaintiffs argue that the combination of these decisions result in the potential violation of conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.”

    About the Author

  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter serves as Associate Vice President for Convention News at the SBC Executive Committee

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