Fifth Circuit Decision May Curtail Chemical Abortions

On August 16, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued its decision in a case arising out of the approval of an abortion pill by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. The decision, while imperfect, is favorable from a pro-life perspective. However, the decision will not take effect until after it has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

In Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, the plaintiffs contended that the FDA should not have approved the sale of the abortion drug known as mifepristone. A federal trial court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor on April 7, 2023. According to the Buffalo News, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision regarding the drug’s approval, but “left intact part of the ruling that would end the availability of the drug by mail, allow it to be used through only the seventh week of pregnancy rather than the 10th, and require that it be administered in the presence of a physician.” If upheld, these restrictions would significantly limit—but not eliminate—the use and accessibility of the drug.

The pro-abortion Biden administration has promised to appeal the decision. The plaintiffs may also appeal and may attempt to persuade the Supreme Court that mifepristone should not be available at all in the United States.

Katie Daniel of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America commented: “The FDA ignored science and its own rules when it rubber-stamped Democrats’ reckless mail-order abortion scheme. Americans strongly object to sending abortion drugs through the mail without the in-person supervision of a doctor – that’s common sense. But under multiple Democrat administrations, the FDA threw out common sense and played political games with people’s lives. Mail-order abortion pills put thousands of women and girls at risk of serious complications from abortion pills every year. We won’t rest until the FDA and the profit-driven abortion industry are held accountable for the suffering they’ve inflicted on women and girls, as well as the deaths of countless unborn children.’”

Erin Hawley of Alliance Defending Freedom added: “The complication rate for chemical abortion drugs is four times higher than for surgical abortions… Women win when the federal government values their health and safety above politics and recognizes the dangers of chemical abortion.”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms applauds the plaintiffs for bringing this lawsuit and urges the Supreme Court to take dangerous abortion pills off the market.