Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Rebukes FDA & Biden Administration’s Dangerous Mail-Order Abortion Scheme

Earlier this week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FDA must do its job and restore crucial safeguards around chemical abortion drugs, including illegal mail-order abortions. The August 16 ruling is a significant victory for women’s health and safety.

The challenge to the FDA’s 2016 and 2021 rule changes to how the abortion pill is prescribed, which eliminated important safeguards needed to protect girls and women, was brought by four health care organizations and four doctors.

These concerned medical professionals pointed out that the FDA failed to review the safety of the “abortion pill,” approved the do-it-yourself abortion drugs for political reasons, approved telehealth abortions by relying on studies that used in-person medical visits, and put women in grave danger by recklessly allowing mail-order abortion pills with no in-person doctor visit.

The 5th Circuit Court agreed, finding that the FDA failed to take safety concerns into account when making the “abortion pill” more accessible. These safety concerns include federal data showing the rate of chemical abortion related emergency room visits is up more than 500 percent since Mifepristone was approved; major international studies showing that the abortion pill regime carries four times the risk of complications as surgical abortion; and peer-reviewed research finding a 53 percent greater risk for an ER visit for chemical abortion complications than after a surgical abortion.

Though the 5th Circuit Court ruling is a victory for women and the doctors who brought the legal challenge, there will be no changes in how the abortion pill is distributed until after the U.S. Supreme Court revisits the issue. A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court could possibly occur in 2024.

The Family Foundation, along with more than 30 other pro-life organizations, filed an amicus brief earlier this year urging the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the FDA’s unlawful approval of chemical abortion drugs while a lawsuit from four medical organizations and four doctors proceeds.

Written by Michael Johnson, Sr. Policy Advisor

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