A Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge called out the ridiculousness of the FDA classifying pregnancy as a serious illness to expedite approval of abortion drugs during a hearing Wednesday, asking, “When we celebrated Mother’s Day, were we celebrating illness?”
The Washington Post reported about the judge’s comment Wednesday but did not identify which judge said it during the highly anticipated hearing. The Hill later attributed the comment to Judge James Ho.
The lawsuit, filed by OB-GYNs and emergency room doctors, challenges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval and later expansion of mifepristone as an elective abortion drug. Doctors with the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine say the abortion drug is dangerous and should be removed from the market, and the FDA’s decision to approve it was political, not science-based.
One of the pro-life doctors’ contentions is that, under the Clinton administration, the FDA skipped the regular safety review process and expedited approval of the abortion drug by erroneously classifying pregnancy as a serious or life-threatening illness.
The Fifth Circuit judges were skeptical of the FDA’s actions in their questions to Justice Department lawyer Sarah Harrington.
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According to the newspaper:
The judges seemed to argue that since pregnancy is not an illness, the medication should not have been approved through this process. …
“When we celebrated Mother’s Day,” [Judge James Ho] asked, “were we celebrating illness?”
But [abortion drug manufacturer] Danco and government lawyers have argued that the expedited process has been used for non-life-threatening conditions like acne and infertility. They have also said that the medication has gone through numerous stringent review processes and that the science has repeatedly proved that the medication is safe and effective.
Pregnancy itself is not an illness, and, contrary to popular claims, there is evidence that abortions are more dangerous to pregnant mothers than childbirth. Abortions always are dangerous and intentionally deadly to unborn babies.
The Fifth Circuit judges had problems with other arguments from the Biden administration, too. At the very beginning of the hearing, Ho interrupted Harrington when she claimed that revoking FDA approval of a drug would be “unprecedented” for any court, the newspaper reports.
“I hate to cut you off so early, but you just said unprecedented,” Ho said. “We had a challenge to the FDA just yesterday.”
Ho also questioned the implication by the Biden administration that “the FDA can do no wrong,” according to CNN.
“We are allowed to look at the FDA just like we’re allowed to look at any agency. That’s the role the courts,” he said.
During another point in the hearing, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod scolded the lawyer for the abortion drug company Danco for personally attacking U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal judge in Texas who initially heard the case and blocked the abortion drug from the market. Kacsmaryk and his court staff have received death threats and other security problems in relation to the case.
Lawyer Jessica Ellsworth slammed Kacsmaryk’s ruling as a “relentless one-sided narrative” and an “unprecedented judicial assault” – prompting the judge’s response, the Washington Post reports.
Judge Elrod said Ellsworth’s criticisms were much too harsh and outside the realm of what courts “normally see … from learned counsel.”
“I don’t think those remarks … were intended as any kind of personal attack,” Ellsworth replied.
Additionally, the judges raised questions about whether the Biden administration would follow a court order to block the abortion drug. Several prominent Democrats have made the outrageous suggestion that Biden should ignore the judicial system and allow the abortion drug to be sold anyway.
Elrod pointed to a White House comment that “we’re going to get these [abortion drugs] to everybody no matter where they live,” even though more than a dozen states ban the abortion drug, according to the Washington Post.
Similarly, Ho noted a comment by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito about the case: “The Government has not dispelled legitimate doubts that it would even obey an unfavorable order in these cases, much less that it would choose to take enforcement actions to which it has strong objections.”
“Will FDA follow whatever this court decides?” Ho asked.
The Justice Department lawyer said the agency “absolutely” will.
Millions of unborn babies have been killed with the abortion drug mifepristone, or RU-486, since its approval under the Clinton administration in 2000. Currently, it is used for almost half of all abortions in the U.S., killing approximately 400,000 unborn babies every year, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Doctors with the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine say the FDA put lives at risk by failing to properly study the safety of mifepristone under Democratic presidential administrations, and its approval as an elective abortion drug should be revoked.
As emergency room physicians and OB-GYNs, the doctors said they have witnessed “the enormous pressure and stress caused by emergency treatment from chemical abortion [abortion drugs] gone wrong.”
In April, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk blocked the abortion drug from the market, but the Fifth Circuit limited the temporary injunction and then the U.S. Supreme Court put it on hold.
Lawyers for the Department of Justice claim the abortion drug is very safe, even when taken without medical supervision, and women would be harmed if the court restricts or bans it. Its safety is “amply supported by a record developed over decades of safe and effective use” world-wide, the DOJ told the Fifth Circuit in its most recent filing, according to the Washington Examiner.
But the doctors behind the lawsuit contend that they and their patients are being harmed by the FDA’s reckless approval and expansion of the abortion drug.
“Across decades, the agency has stripped away every meaningful and necessary safeguard on chemical abortion, demonstrating callous disregard for women’s well-being, unborn life, and statutory limits,” they said in their argument to the U.S. Supreme Court in April.
They said the FDA failed to properly study the safety of mifepristone and, under the Biden administration, ignored federal law when it began allowing the drug to be sold through the mail without direct medical oversight.
They said the FDA and the abortion drug manufacturer Danco have “brazenly flouted the law” for decades, disregarding their own safety data and evading judicial review to push abortion drugs on the American public. Under the Obama administration, the FDA even stopped requiring non-fatal complications to be reported, they continued.
“Without a stay, mifepristone will result in more physical complications, emotional trauma and even death for women,” they told the court.
Mifepristone is used to abort unborn babies up to about 10 weeks of pregnancy – although some abortionists use it later. It works by blocking the hormone progesterone and basically starving the unborn baby to death. Typically, abortion groups also prescribe a second drug, misoprostol, to induce labor and expel the baby’s body.
Studies indicate abortion risks are more common than what abortion activists often claim, with about one in 17 women requiring hospital treatment.
The FDA has linked mifepristone to 28 women’s deaths between 2000 and 2018. At least two more women have died since then, although the number likely is much higher.
A recent study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits by women taking the abortion drug increased more than 500 percent between 2002 and 2015.