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The Washington Stand: SCOTUS Rejects Challenge to FDA's Abortion Pill Deregulation

This article was written by S.A. McCarthy and published in The Washington Stand.

The U.S. Supreme Court is rejecting a lawsuit brought by pro-life doctors against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the federal agency expanding access to abortion drugs. On Thursday, the Court issued a unanimous rejection of a petition brought by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and other pro-life medical organizations, which argued that the FDA had violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it relaxed safeguards around prescribing the abortion drug mifepristone in 2016 and 2021. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the court’s opinion, rejecting the case for a lack of standing, not based on the merits of the case.

“But the plaintiffs do not prescribe or use mifepristone. And FDA is not requiring them to do or refrain from doing anything,” Kavanaugh wrote of the pro-life doctors’ petition. “Rather, the plaintiffs want FDA to make mifepristone more difficult for other doctors to prescribe and for pregnant women to obtain. Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff ’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Erin Hawley, who argued the case before the court on behalf of the pro-life plaintiffs in late March, issued a statement Thursday saying, “We are disappointed that the Supreme Court did not reach the merits of the FDA’s lawless removal of commonsense safety standards for abortion drugs.” She continued, “Nothing in today’s decision changes the fact that the FDA’s own label says that roughly one in 25 women who take chemical abortion drugs will end up in the emergency room — a dangerous reality the doctors and medical associations we represent in this case know all too well.” She added, “The FDA recklessly leaves women and girls to take these high-risk drugs all alone in their homes or dorm rooms, without requiring the ongoing, in-person care of a doctor.”

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