Now on the other side of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, many Americans seem to think that the question of abortion has returned entirely to the states. That is not true. The federal government is deeply implicated, most notably with its reckless approval of chemical-abortion drugs.
Congress has charged the federal Food and Drug Administration with keeping all dangerous drugs off the U.S. market, or at minimum restricting them so that they may be used safely. But the FDA refuses to protect women and children from dangerous drugs pushed by the reckless, profit-driven abortion industry — and, every day, Americans are suffering.
That is why four national medical associations and four doctors, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a lawsuit November 18 against the FDA: to reverse the FDA’s illegal and irresponsible authorization of harmful chemical-abortion drugs. This unprecedented lawsuit is a burst of hope for pro-life Americans, because removing these drugs from the market will protect women and children across America from their deadly consequences.
For years, Americans recognized that chemical-abortion drugs were too dangerous to approve. But, during his administration, President Bill Clinton pressured the FDA into disregarding the proper testing procedures and approving chemical-abortion drugs in 2000. Now, chemical abortions represent around 55 percent of abortions in the United States. Worse, in 2016 under President Barack Obama and then in 2021 under President Joe Biden, the FDA relaxed the already insufficient safety parameters for chemical abortions.
In 2000, patients had to schedule three in-person appointments with a doctor to get a chemical abortion: once for an initial consultation and to receive the first drug, once to receive a second drug, and a third time to confirm that no fetal parts or tissue remained in the uterus. Now, despite a slew of catastrophic health situations arising from home use of these drugs, the FDA allows abortionists to prescribe chemical-abortion drugs via telemedicine and to send those drugs through the mail — a violation of long-standing U.S. law.
The FDA and abortionists are lying when they say that chemical-abortion drugs are safe. Besides the simple fact that these are poisons designed to kill an innocent child, the drugs are undertested and underregulated. Abortionists mail these drugs to women to take at home, alone, with no indication of the potential horrors that await.
Sometimes abortionists even recommend that women pass the fetus into a toilet and not look at it; women who do look are often horrified to find that the baby, which they were told was just a clump of cells, has hands, feet, and even little fingers and toes. In one case, the abortionist assumed that a woman was about six weeks pregnant; after taking chemical-abortion drugs, the woman — alone in her bathroom at home — delivered a fully formed baby around 30 to 36 weeks old.
Besides this unthinkable trauma, many women face serious complications such as hemorrhaging, incomplete abortion (body parts remaining in the uterus), sepsis, loss of fertility, and even death. With the abortionist who prescribed the drugs out of the picture, local ob-gyns and emergency rooms are left to clean up the mess.
The complaint in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration tells one story from Nancy Wozniak, a medical doctor who found herself treating a woman whose preexisting contraindications (taking anticoagulants) meant that she never should have received chemical-abortion drugs in the first place. After Planned Parenthood in Indiana gave the woman chemical-abortion drugs, the woman consumed the first chemical-abortion drug, mifepristone, at the Planned Parenthood office and took an Uber for a ride home. During the ride, she began bleeding profusely. The Uber driver wisely took her to the hospital emergency room instead of home, and Dr. Wozniak was able to treat the woman and advise her not to take the second chemical-abortion drug, misoprostol, because of the grave risk that she could bleed out and die.
The FDA’s sole reason for existence is to protect Americans such as Dr. Wozniak’s patient from dangerous, untested drugs; but in the case of chemical-abortion drugs, the FDA caved to political pressure and approved a life-threatening drug without adequate testing.
The FDA never researched how this hormone-blocking drug regimen would harm women and girls because it never studied the drugs under the conditions approved for use on the label. And over the years, it has eliminated even the scant safeguards it once had in place for the distribution of chemical-abortion drugs online. Now, abortionists can send these drugs through the mail, tell women that it is a safe and uncomplicated drug regimen, and then abandon them to suffer alone.
Holding the FDA accountable for its failure to properly test and regulate these dangerous drugs is an opportunity to uphold health and safety for all Americans. Even as mainstream media, from the New York Times to the Washington Post and the Atlantic, crow that mail-order chemical abortions will make it impossible for pro-life states to enforce their laws, they refuse to face the reality that these chemical abortions are the real back-alley abortions. In homes, dorm rooms, even public-school bathrooms across America, women and girls are exposed to serious harms. This lawsuit is a chance to protect Americans — the unborn and their vulnerable mothers — no matter the state in which they live.