U.S. Supreme Court Shocks The Nation With Unanimous 9-0 Ruling

U.S. Supreme Court Shocks The Nation With Unanimous 9-0 Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed a challenge against the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate an abortion-related medication. In a 9-0 decision, the justices ruled that the challengers lacked standing to contest the FDA’s approval process for the abortion drug mifepristone, marking a significant victory for the Biden administration and abortion rights advocates.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who authored the unanimous opinion, stated, “Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue. Nor do the plaintiffs’ other standing theories suffice.”

He further elaborated, “The plaintiffs have sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone. But under Article III of the Constitution, those kinds of objections alone do not establish a justiciable case or controversy in federal court.”

The case has been sent back to the Fifth Circuit for further proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion.

The lawsuit originated from a group of healthcare associations, including the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, which argued that the drug has a high rate of complications.

Erin Hawley, counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, expressed disappointment with the ruling, stating, “We are disappointed that the Supreme Court did not reach the merits of the FDA’s lawless removal of commonsense safety standards for abortion drugs.”

She continued, “Nothing in today’s decision changes the fact that the FDA’s own label says that roughly one in 25 women who take chemical abortion drugs will end up in the emergency room—a dangerous reality the doctors and medical associations we represent in this case know all too well. The FDA recklessly leaves women and girls to take these high-risk drugs all alone in their homes or dorm, without requiring the ongoing, in-person care of a doctor.”

Hawley added, “While we’re disappointed with the court’s decision, we will continue to advocate for women and work to restore commonsense safeguards for abortion drugs—like an initial office visit to screen for ectopic pregnancies. And we are grateful that three states stand ready to hold the FDA accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of women and girls across this country.”

The justices concluded that the group could not prove the FDA’s relaxed regulations caused them harm, thus removing their standing to sue.

Justice Kavanaugh noted, “Here, the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that FDA’s relaxed regulatory requirements likely would cause them to suffer an injury in fact. For that reason, the federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions.”

He added, “The plaintiffs may present their concerns and objections to the President and FDA in the regulatory process, or to Congress and the President in the legislative process. And they may also express their views about abortion and mifepristone to fellow citizens, including in the political and electoral processes.”

In March, the justices heard arguments regarding federal regulations since 2016 that have eased access to mifepristone, including allowing access by mail.

Following the Supreme Court's decision in June 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, the U.S. Constitution no longer guarantees the right to an abortion, leaving the matter to be decided by individual states. In response, 14 states have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with some exceptions, while two others have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is at around six weeks of gestation.

Mifepristone is used in combination with misoprostol to perform medication abortions, also known as the “abortion pill.”

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