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Media Lacks Courage to Report Accurately on FDA Endangerment of Women, Girls

How many more women must die, knock on death’s door, or risk serious injury for the FDA to abandon its ‘safe and effective’ mantra?
Lathan Watts
Written by
ADF’s lawsuit exposes the FDA’s sheer recklessness and lawlessness when it approved dangerous chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom have been in the news quite a bit lately for suing the Food and Drug Administration. Naturally, any litigation challenging the federal government, particularly on the issue of abortion, is going to generate media interest.

However, this case is illustrating more than just government malfeasance. It is also demonstrating how the once common cause of the press—uncovering and reporting truth—is now a relic of the Watergate era, as out of fashion as Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman’s wardrobe from All the President’s Men.

The lawsuit, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, reveals how the FDA failed to abide by its legal obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of girls and women when it approved chemical abortion drugs.

The FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo the dangerous drug regimen.

According to ADF clients Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and doctors Shaun Jester, Regina Frost-Clark, Tyler Johnson, and George Delgado, the only way the FDA was able to approve the legalization of the chemical abortion drugs in 2000 was by characterizing pregnancy as an “illness” and arguing that these drugs provide a “meaningful therapeutic benefit.”

When physicians raised concerns in 2002 over the approval of the two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol, the FDA ignored its own rules requiring a response within 180 days and stonewalled the citizens it claims to serve for 14 years.

In 2016, the FDA extended the permissible gestational age of the baby for which a girl or woman may take chemical abortion drugs—from seven weeks’ gestation to 10 weeks’ gestation—increasing the mother’s risk of adverse complications. The FDA also changed the dosage and route of administration for the drugs, reduced the number of required in-person doctor visits from three to one, expanded who could prescribe and administer chemical abortion drugs beyond medical doctors, and eliminated the requirement for abortionists to report non-fatal complications from chemical abortion drugs.

Further, in 2021, the FDA announced that it would allow abortionists to send chemical abortion drugs through the mail—in direct violation of longstanding federal law. As the lawsuit points out, this decision puts girls and women at additional risk from chemical abortion drugs since mail-order, at-home abortions skip necessary medical examinations to ensure that girls and women don’t have conditions that could lead to fatal outcomes.

ADF attorneys have participated in multiple interviews with major news outlets covering the litigation, including CBS, PBS, and The Washington Post.

Nowhere in the final published versions of their coverage did the journalists at these outlets mention the many women who have died from taking these drugs, nor did they report the experiences that our frontline doctors shared with them about how America’s emergency rooms are treating women harmed by dangerous chemical abortion drugs. Not once did their news coverage include the FDA repeal of a reporting requirement for non-fatal complications, suggesting willful ignorance to the dangers unleashed on American women. And there was nary a mention of the bureaucratic stonewalling for 14 years that prevented litigation until recently. Instead, the phrases “safe and effective” and “on the market for 20 years” appear multiple times.

According to recent reports by Gallup, only 34% of Americans trust the media. Pew Research shows even less trust in government. Only 2% of Americans trust the federal government to do what is right “just about always,” while 19% trust it do so “most of the time.”

A government accountable to its citizens and a free and independent press working to assure this accountability are two vitally essential elements of a republic. This lawsuit and the resulting media coverage demonstrate the public’s distrust is more than justified. Tragically, this is far more serious than typical bureaucratic incompetence and media bias; lives are at stake.

How many more women must die, knock on death’s door, or risk serious injury for the FDA to abandon its “safe and effective” mantra? And when will the national news media summon the courage and integrity to ask them?

Regardless of whether they will admit the truth, ADF’s lawsuit exposes the FDA’s sheer recklessness and lawlessness when it approved dangerous chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States. A win in court will protect the lives, welfare, and safety of women and girls in this country, whether the media reports on it accurately or not.

Lathan Watts, VP of Public Affairs
Lathan Watts
VP of Public Affairs
Lathan Watts serves as VP of Public Affairs at Alliance Defending Freedom