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Broad support to protect women's health filed at US Supreme Court

Twenty-five states, 145 members of Congress, dozens of doctors, advocacy groups file 38 friend-of-the-court briefs urging the high court to require FDA to restore safety standards for abortion drugs
Dr. Christina Francis at the Supreme Court
Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom

WASHINGTON – Twenty-five states, 145 members of Congress, women harmed by chemical abortion, and a broad coalition of doctors and advocacy groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to hold the U.S. Food and Drug Administration accountable for unlawfully removing crucial safeguards for the use of abortion drugs.

As Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys explained in their brief filed with the high court last week, the FDA recklessly removed in-person doctor visits to check for ectopic pregnancies, severe bleeding, and life-threatening infections, as well as reporting requirements that provided women with better information about the serious risks associated with abortion drugs. ADF attorneys are asking the court to affirm the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s decision holding that the FDA acted unlawfully when it removed these crucial safeguards based on inadequate studies.

“Women should have the ongoing care of a doctor when taking high-risk drugs. The FDA’s own label for abortion drugs says that roughly one in 25 women who take them will end up in the emergency room,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erin Hawley, vice president of the Center for Life and regulatory practice. “But the FDA recklessly removed its original safeguards like in-person doctor visits leaving women to suffer serious complications alone. It’s appalling that the FDA would eliminate even the initial in-person visit to check for life-threatening conditions like ectopic pregnancy based on studies it said were ‘not adequate.’ Women deserve better, which is why dozens of states, members of Congress, doctors, and advocacy groups joined with us in urging the Supreme Court to hold the FDA accountable for endangering women’s health.”

In the case, U.S. Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, ADF attorneys represent doctors, medical associations, and their members who are witnessing firsthand the harms inflicted by the FDA’s recklessness and are regularly called upon to treat emergencies caused by abortion-drug complications.

“Few issues are as important and controversial as abortion. Federal lawmaking on abortion has thus long proceeded incrementally: sweeping action has not gained the consensus needed to become federal law,” the brief led by the state of Mississippi and joined by 21 other states explains. “And because questions on abortion are so important, it is critical that the people decide them. Yet the FDA’s actions rob the people of power to decide central questions—whether chemical abortion should be lawful, in what circumstances, and under what conditions—on this vital issue. That state of affairs departs from our constitutional order, which leaves the most important matters to the people.”

“The FDA’s 2016 and 2021 deregulatory decisions affecting mifepristone pose severe health risks to women for many reasons, including because those decisions removed the requirement of an initial in-person visit where an ultrasound would be performed to date the pregnancy and diagnose (or rule out) an ectopic pregnancy,” Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie and the Catholic Association Foundation explain in their brief. “The FDA’s endorsement of unsupervised mifepristone use will send more women to emergency rooms with medical complications from mifepristone.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Erin Hawley, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Center for Life & Regulatory Practice
Erin Morrow Hawley
Senior Counsel, Vice President of Center for Life & Regulatory Practice
Erin Morrow Hawley serves as senior counsel and vice president of the Center for Life and regulatory practice at Alliance Defending Freedom.