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LISTEN: US Supreme Court Considers Abortion Pill Safeguards in FDA Overreach Case

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In what many consider to be the most important abortion case before the nation's highest court since the end of Roe vs. Wade, Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments surrounding the abortion pill mifepristone, also known as Mifeprex. At issue is whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration overreached when it removed safeguards that made the drug more accessible, and whether those safeguards need to be reinstated.  

Mifepristone causes an abortion by blocking the mother's progesterone production. Without progesterone, the unborn baby dies. After a woman takes mifepristone, another drug, misoprostol, causes the unborn child to be expelled from her mother's body.  

FDA Made the Drug More Available

The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000 for women who were no more than seven weeks pregnant.  At that time, the agency required the pills to be given to the patient by a doctor at one of three mandatory in-person doctor visits.  

However, beginning in 2016, the FDA began removing those safeguards, making the pills much easier to obtain. Now, in-person doctor visits are no longer required, which means the abortion-inducing pills can be delivered in the mail without the recipient ever seeing a health care provider.  Also, the gestation age has been raised to 10 weeks.  

CBN News spoke to Erin M. Hawley, the attorney who will be arguing the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We always work with excellence as unto the Lord, but we can also count on Him for the process and the results. And we can lean on His strength and His wisdom, and so trust that to Him. That really helps with a case like this that's going up before the Supreme Court and knowing ultimately that God is in control," she said. 

Hawley serves as Senior Counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom and is a Regent University School of Law professor.  

"As a Christian, I believe that every life is inherently valuable no matter how small, no matter if that life is not yet born," she said.

AUDIO FEED FROM SUPREME COURT: The Fate of Abortion Pills | SCOTUS Oral Arguments

Pro-Life Doctors Feel Harmed

Hawley represents a group of pro-life doctors and other healthcare providers from the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. They say mifepristone's prescribing guidelines should never have been relaxed by the FDA.

"It currently allows abortion drugs to be mailed to women in their dorm rooms without ever seeing in-person a health care provider. That's reckless, and FDA should fix that," Hawley said. 

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Hawley will argue mifepristone is a drug that ends up harming far too many people who take it. 

"FDA's own current label for the drug notes that between 2.9 and 4.6 percent of women, that's roughly one in 25, will go to the Emergency Room. And that was before they stripped away the in-person visit," she said.

What's worse, is that now the drug is available without the patient ever seeing a doctor, even the FDA admits it's less safe than before. 

"One of the studies they discussed said as many as one in eight women will need unplanned medical care after taking these drugs," she said. 

Pro-life board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Donna Harrison, President of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, told CBN News she and her colleagues are forced to try to repair the damage the FDA's prescribing changes produced. 

"We know that the incidents of complications from chemical abortions, from these abortion drugs, are increasing," she said. 

2023 RULING: Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down FDA's Decision to Allow Abortion Drug by Mail

While increased complications resulting from the FDA's relaxed prescribing guidelines harm patients, they also harm pro-life doctors who say they've become conscripted by the FDA to become complicit in abortions.

"If a woman comes in who's bleeding, and she's bleeding enough that it threatens her life, and her baby still has a heartbeat, we're going to take the baby. Because we could lose both of them. So what that does is it forces us to be a partner in the abortion process, in the elective abortion process," Dr. Harrison explained. 

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Dr. Harrison said even doctors in states where abortion is banned or limited are experiencing the same problems because patients in those states have no problem getting the pills and then pretend they are having an unplanned miscarriage when they experience complications.

"Right now, the abortion pill is available online, and that ships all over the country, and it ships from overseas," she said. "What's worse is that women are being told by the person who supplies the abortion drug to lie to the ER doc and not tell them." 

Dr. Harrison continued, "What's happening now is people that aren't even medically trained are starting this procedure and dumping their complications on those of us who value the life of the mom and the life of her baby. And it's medically, ethically wrong to do that."

Initially, the doctor group asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ban mifepristone outright, but the high court only agreed to consider the issue of the FDA's change in prescribing guidelines and whether that change needs to be reversed.  If that happens, lives will likely be saved.  A decision is expected in June.  

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