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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in U.S. Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

Mar 26, 2024 | 2024 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument today 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 have standing to bring their case.

“We hope that the justices will reconsider the approval of this dangerous drug or at least reinstate the long-standing safety protocols,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Tragically, every mifepristone abortion takes the life of an unborn baby and places her mother in harm’s way.” 

“Bowing to pressure from the abortion industry, the FDA loosened the safety requirements of mifepristone which still has a black box warning,” said Tobias. “Drugs that come with black box warnings have the most dangerous side effects and safety concerns, yet the FDA is okay with mifepristone being prescribed and even mailed to women without an in-person exam.” 

The consolidated cases the Court heard today are FDA, et al. v. Alliance Hippocratic Medicine, et al. and Danco Laboratories, L.L.C. v. Alliance Hippocratic Medicine, et al. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the government agency that tracks the nation’s abortions, approximately 56% of all abortions are done using chemical abortion methods like mifepristone and misoprostol. In a recent report, the Guttmacher Institute, a research arm of the abortion industry, claimed that this number has risen to 63%.

“Mifepristone abortions by telehealth and third-party online sites are like the Wild West with a network of suppliers who are willing to break the few rules that exist,” said Tobias. “The current Wild West of abortion drug distribution is the direct fault of the Biden Administration and its allies who have pushed for fewer and fewer rules and safety precautions for the abortion drugs.”

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.

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

“When hundreds of thousands of women take these pills, even a couple of percentage points of women hemorrhaging, dealing with infections, or ectopic pregnancy, means thousands of women desperately seeking emergency treatment, which may or may not be nearby,” said Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., director of Education and Research for National Right to Life. “The FDA itself warns that these abortion drugs have the potential to send one out of every 25 women to the emergency room.  In studies from other countries that actually track complications, unlike the FDA, the number of women who go to the emergency room after taking these drugs is estimated to be as many as one out of every 10.” 

Dr. O’Bannon addressed the complication rates of mifepristone 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 are now 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.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of affiliates in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.