Judge’s Ruling Blocking Abortion Pill Could Ultimately Save Millions of Babies

Opinion   |   Marjorie Dannenfelser   |   Apr 11, 2023   |   12:35PM   |   Washington, DC

After more than two decades, the whole sordid truth about how the Food and Drug Administration put politics before safety to approve the abortion pill is finally coming out in Texas. After hearing hours of oral arguments in the most important abortion-related case since Dobbs, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas halted FDA approval of the abortion pill, to take effect in seven days pending appeal.

In a separate case in the Eastern District of Washington state, a federal court granted a preliminary injunction blocking any change in the status quo on mifepristone only in the plaintiff states, but declined to issue a nationwide order.

Because the Texas decision pertains to the original approval of the abortion pill in 2000, while the Washington state case is about more recent changes to FDA rules, the Texas order will control.

For over 20 years, doctors and other advocates for authentic, life-affirming health care have challenged the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. For as many years, their pleas have gone unheard. Finally, last November, a group of physicians led by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine sued the FDA.

The FDA is a federal agency with one job: protecting Americans’ health and safety. With countless women injured or even dead because of mifepristone, this major lawsuit is an indictment of their failure to do that job.

The FDA disregarded its own rules in more than one way. In order to take advantage of their accelerated approval program to fast-track the abortion pill, they redefined pregnancy as an “illness.” They also performed no studies focused on girls under 18, as they are required to do. No one knows how this potent drug might affect young girls’ development, because no one bothered to find out.

Since the late 90’s, the FDA has ignored challenges and multiple citizen petitions raising the red flag on the lack of oversight and safety against the abortion pill. Under every Democratic president from Clinton onward, standards have been lowered – most recently when the Biden administration decided to permanently allow abortion pills to be sent through the mail, without anyone ever needing to set foot in a doctor’s office.

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Meanwhile the peer-reviewed science and data on the dangers of abortion drugs has kept piling up. Major international studies show that the abortion pill carries four times the risk of complications as surgical abortion. A 17-year longitudinal analysis found that the rate of abortion pill-related emergency room visits has spiked more than 500 percent since mifepristone was approved.

Mailing abortion drugs is against federal law and the laws of many states for good reason. Without a real exam, not just a Zoom call, there’s no way to screen for conditions like ectopic pregnancy. The cramps and bleeding a woman may be told to expect as part of the abortion process can mask signs of a life-threatening emergency. Without being able to look the patient in the eye or speak with her confidentially, there is also no way to tell whether a coercive boyfriend, husband or sex trafficker is standing just out of view.

Americans recognize that this is reckless – and the government’s protestations that mifepristone is “safe and effective” despite all these flaws tends to undermine the FDA’s credibility, not bolster it. New, in-depth polling conducted by CRC Research for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America finds that 61 percent of Americans believe it is not safe to mail abortion drugs with little or no supervision, due to the risks of coercion and abuse. Sixty-two percent don’t feel confident knowing the FDA doesn’t track side effects other than death. A whopping 75 percent think the FDA should have studied the effects of the drug in young girls before approving it for minors. On every question, a majority are clearly uneasy about trusting the FDA.

There are dire medical consequences as well. OB-GYNs in states like Texas are regularly called upon to address serious complications that Planned Parenthood doesn’t treat – and that the FDA hasn’t tracked for years. It isn’t the abortion pill suppliers who end up holding the hands of desperate, scared patients who come to the ER needing a blood transfusion, surgery or treatment for a severe infection. This is especially dangerous for women in rural areas who might drive for several hours to get to their doctor appointment. Women also suffer emotionally and don’t know what to do when they see the body of their child, visible and recognizably human, delivered into the toilet.

Does that sound like a drug that is supposedly “safer than Tylenol”? That is one of the radical abortion lobby’s favorite talking points in the Dobbs era, as more and more states enact strong protections for the unborn and their mothers. However, pro-abortion activists’ extreme behavior – personal attacks and even death threats toward the judge, questioning the legitimacy of the process, and acting like this case spells the end of public health as we know it – suggests that even they know the facts aren’t on their side.

Amid the contentious and even violent climate created by pro-abortion misinformation, most Americans can agree on matters of common sense. Abortion should have far greater limits, say seven in 10 Americans, including women, Independents and almost half of rank-and-file Democrats. Our children deserve protection during some of the most vulnerable years of their lives. Women deserve better than dangerous drugs that put them at risk. And with nearly 3,000 pregnancy centers and maternity homes nationwide, the pro-life movement stands ready to connect them with the gamut of resources they may need – without judgment and with true compassion.

Pro-life advocates proudly stand with the overwhelming majority of OB-GYNs who want nothing to do with the violence of abortion and work hard to give every mother and baby the best possible care. We welcome the chance to make the case against mifepristone using science and data, to educate the public, and to hold the FDA accountable.

The battle is not over. In the Dobbs era, the radical abortion lobby will fight tooth and nail to keep its ‘insurance policy’ of mail-order abortion pills. However, we believe and hope this case could result in much stronger protections for women and girls as well as unborn children.

LifeNews Note: Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of SBA Pro-Life America.