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Clouds are seen above the U.S. Supreme Court building on May 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C.Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Supreme Court has set March 26 as the date to begin hearing oral arguments on federal rules surrounding the use of the abortion drug mifepristone in a case that has massive ramifications for the abortion lobby’s efforts to preserve abortion “access” in a post-Roe v. Wade nation.

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 (ADF) 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 same month, the Supreme Court agreed to halt enforcement of that suspension, ensuring abortion pills would remain available nationwide while the case moved through the courts.

In August 2023, 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 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.

In reporting the confirmed starting date for the case this week, STAT News noteD that it will be “the first major test of abortion limits to go before the highest court since the same panel overturned” Roe in June 2022’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling.

Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, with available data so far indicating that now-enforceable pro-life laws could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, abortion allies have pursued a variety of tactics to keep the abortion industry going, including enshrining “rights” to abortion in state constitutions, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors. 

President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. The 2024 elections will determine whether Democrats retain the White House and keep or gain enough seats in Congress to make that happen.

In the meantime, one of their most potent pursuits has been facilitating easy access to abortion pills, even though 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% of new facilities built last year specializing in dispensing mifepristone and misoprostol. Citing data from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, STAT says mifepristone “accounts for roughly half of all abortions in the U.S.”