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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — In a case soon to begin before the U.S. Supreme Court, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a legal brief representing pro-life doctors who say the Biden administration’s efforts to deregulate abortion-inducing drugs are dangerous.

In December 2021, the Biden administration’s U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) eliminated its requirement that abortion pills be dispensed in person, allowing pharmacists to instead send them through the mail as long as the recipient has a prescription. Alliance Defending Freedom sued on behalf of pro-life doctors and activists, securing in April 2023 a suspension of the policy from a U.S. District Court judge that was soon paused by the Supreme Court.

Last August, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a split ruling that sided with the FDA on some aspects of the case, including the abortion drug mifepristone’s original 2000 approval, but ultimately agreed to stay the agency’s more recent actions, meaning abortion pills could no longer be sent through the mail at least for the duration of the case, and that the cutoff point for taking abortion pills was moved back from 10 weeks’ gestation to seven weeks. The ruling also restored other conditions, including in-person office visits, prohibition of prescriptions by non-physicians, and mandatory reporting of non-fatal adverse events.

Last December, the nation’s highest court announced that it would review the August ruling, setting up a showdown that could potentially also impact the FDA’s original approval of mifepristone in 2000 and subsequent relaxation of the cutoff point for taking it from seven to 10 weeks. Oral arguments are slated to begin March 26.

On February 22, ADF announced that it has filed its brief in the case on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians, and Christian Medical & Dental Associations, whose members “are witnessing firsthand the harms inflicted by the FDA’s recklessness and are regularly called upon to treat emergencies caused by abortion-drug complications.”

Eliminating the requirements for in-person appointments and follow-ups to catch potential complications, the brief argues, is “akin to an agency no longer requiring seatbelts and airbags based on studies that evaluated the risk of removing just one of those protections.” The brief supports its assessment by studies indicating that significantly more cases of emergency medical attention happen when initial in-person examinations are skipped.

“No agency is above the law,” the brief declares. “Congress gave federal courts the authority — and obligation — to review the actions of agencies that regulate nearly ‘every nook and cranny of daily life.’ FDA’s insistence that (the Supreme) Court cannot check its work runs counter to the Administrative Procedure Act. Judicial review ensures that an agency doesn’t ‘become a mon­ster which rules with no practical limits.’ Giving such unfettered power to FDA — an agency whose actions ‘affect every citizen,’ — is particularly problematic. Turning a blind eye to FDA’s patently unreasonable actions here, which jeopardize women’s health throughout the nation, would be unprecedented.”

Evidence shows that abortion pills carry specific risks for the mothers who take them (on top of being lethal to their preborn children), especially when the standards for taking them continue to be relaxed.

A 2020 open letter from a coalition of pro-life groups to then-FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn noted that the FDA’s own adverse reporting system says the “abortion pill has resulted in over 4,000 reported adverse events since 2000, including 24 maternal deaths. Adverse events are notoriously underreported to the FDA, and as of 2016, the FDA only requires abortion pill manufacturers to report maternal deaths.”

Pro-lifers warn that with the Biden administration completely eliminating requirements that abortion pills be taken under any medical supervision or with medical support close by, those events are certain to increase. 

“A November 2021 study by Charlotte Lozier Institute scholars appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology,” Catholic University of America research associate Michael New wrote. “They analyzed state Medicaid data of over 400,000 abortions from 17 states that fund elective abortions through their Medicaid programs. They found that the rate of abortion-pill-related emergency-room visits increased over 500 percent from 2002 through 2015. The rate of emergency-room visits for surgical abortions also increased during the same time period, but by a much smaller margin.’”

In November 2022, Operation Rescue reported that a net decrease of 36 abortion facilities in 2022 led to the lowest number in almost 50 years, yet the chemical abortion business “surged” with 64 percent of new facilities built last year specializing in dispensing mifepristone and misoprostol. Citing data from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, STAT News says mifepristone “accounts for roughly half of all abortions in the U.S.” 

Nevertheless, easy access to abortion pills is a core element of the Biden administration’s so-called “whole-of-government effort to protect reproductive rights” (a popular euphemism for legal abortion on demand), including increased taxpayer funding for abortion at home and abroad and, should Democrats keep the White House and gain enough seats in Congress, legislation to codify a “right” to abortion-on-demand in federal law.