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US Supreme Court Issues Major Ruling in Abortion Drug Case

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The abortion pill will continue to be available by mail – for now. That's the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court ruled unanimously on Thursday the case against mifepristone could not proceed. Mifepristone is the drug most commonly used in medication abortions, and it had been used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the country in the last year.

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a group of pro-life medical doctors, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, asked the high court to force the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restore regulations that require in-person visits with medical providers to receive the drug.  

The FDA had lifted the in-person requirement, making the pills available by mail. 

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine argued lifting the requirement for in-person medical visits puts women in danger and places an undue burden on healthcare workers who must help deal with complications from the eased restrictions. 

WATCH CBN News Coverage and Analysis of the Ruling:

However, all nine justices denied the request because they said the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine lacked "standing," which is a legal term meaning the group didn't have the right to bring the case before the court as they were not directly impacted by the FDA's decision.  

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who wrote the opinion on behalf of the court said, "Here, the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that FDA's relaxed regulatory requirements likely would cause them to suffer an injury in fact. For that reason, the federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs' concerns about FDA's actions."

The opinion stated that while the justices believe the U.S. Supreme Court is not the proper venue for this action, there are others.  

"The plaintiffs may present their concerns and objections to the President and FDA in the regulatory process, or to Congress and the President in the legislative process. And they may also express their views about abortion and mifepristone to fellow citizens, including in the political and electoral processes," Kavanaugh wrote. 

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Erin Hawley, who represented The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine said the court ruled against her clients on a technicality.  

"They did not address the merits," she said, adding the FDA's own documents show that roughly one in 25 women will end up in the emergency room because of relaxed regulations.

Hawley said while the outcome of this particular case is disappointing to pro-life advocates, it's more of a setback than a defeat.  

She added that the ruling leaves the door open for future challenges, particularly from states like Missouri, Idaho, and Kansas. 

"The Supreme Court did not dismiss this lawsuit and that is because there are three states that have intervened in the district court below. Those states will presumably consider their alternatives," Hawley said, "But I would expect the litigation to continue with those states raising different standing, sort of arguments, than those made by our doctors." 

Although the ruling drew praise from reproductive rights groups and many Democrats, some people suggested the fight over abortion rights and women's health care was not over.  

President Joe Biden said the ruling "does not change the fact that the right for a woman to get the treatment she needs is imperiled if not impossible in many states."

Many pro-life organizations, like Students for Life America, echoed the belief that the abortion battle remains ongoing. 

President Kristan Hawkins said the opinion was "disappointing, but not surprising," adding, "We expect the case to continue as those harmed by chemical abortion are many."

The Heritage Foundation issued a statement saying the opinion is "not the final judgment on the safety or effectiveness of mifepristone," and that "legal technicalities allow Biden's FDA to continue manipulating its safety rules to push a pro-abortion agenda."

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