Medical associations sue FDA over approving chemical abortion pills

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A bloc of national medical associations and doctors focusing on caring for pregnant and post-abortive women is suing federal officials, claiming they illegally approved chemical abortion drugs that they say harm girls and women.

Most abortions carried out in the United States nowadays are induced by chemicals, not accomplished by surgical means, according to lawyers who filed the new lawsuit.

The lawsuit, launched Nov. 18, is one of several that have popped up taking aim at abortion-related policies since the Supreme Court found in June that there is no constitutional right to abortion, overturning the 49-year-old precedent Roe v. Wade in the process.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed “politics over science when it pushed for the legalization of the chemical abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol in 2000,” according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a public interest law firm specializing in religious freedom cases.

“The only way the FDA was able to approve the drugs was by characterizing pregnancy as an ‘illness’ and arguing that these drugs provide a ‘meaningful therapeutic benefit,’” ADF said in a statement.

By greenlighting the chemical abortion drugs, the FDA ignored its legal obligation to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of girls and women, ADF said. The agency never studied the safety of the drugs, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded evidence that these drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo “this dangerous drug regimen.”

ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake said “the FDA has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of women and girls, but the FDA has refused to do so.”

“And it has refused to protect women and girls from the harms of dangerous chemical abortion drugs. So our lawsuit seeks to have the court order FDA to follow the science, put politics aside, and withdraw chemical abortion drugs from the market nationwide,” Blake told The Epoch Times in an interview.

The FDA is not following existing law by allowing chemical abortion drugs on the market, Blake said.

“There are laws that say that you can’t have mail-order abortion. Instead, the FDA removed safeguards and said you can mail order these chemical abortion drugs.”

The agency ignored laws that say there have to be studies of the drugs on pediatric populations before they can be approved for use by girls going through puberty, she said.

“You can’t approve these drugs in the first place, unless you’re treating serious illness and it provides a meaningful therapeutic benefit. Well, pregnancy is not an illness, and chemical abortion drugs are much more dangerous than surgical abortions,” Blake said.

Chemical abortions are dangerous, according to Blake.

Studies show about one in five women who have undergone a chemical abortion will seek future medical attention, she said.

“Women face severe bleeding, life-threatening infections, [and risk to] the ability to [accomplish] future successful pregnancies,” Blake said.

“And then when you compare that to the complication rate for surgical abortions, chemical abortion drugs have a complication rate that is four times higher than surgical abortions,” she said.

The FDA’s Office of Media Affairs told The Epoch Times the FDA “does not comment on possible, pending or ongoing litigation.”

The legal complaint (pdf) in the case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was filed Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas as court file 2:22-cv-223.

In addition to the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the plaintiffs are the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, along with doctors Shaun Jester, Regina Frost Clark, Tyler Johnson, and George Delgado, on behalf of themselves and their patients.

This article by Matthew Vadum appeared Nov. 18, 2022, in The Epoch Times.