The U.S. Supreme Court building on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

We have experienced a heartbreaking setback in this unprecedented and urgent post-Roe, chemical abortion era. The U.S. Supreme Court just released its decision in the most significant abortion case since the landmark Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago.

Thursday, June 13, SCOTUS unanimously rejected doctors’ standing in U.S. Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. This ruling preserves broad access for now to the chemical abortion drug mifepristone. (See SCOTUS Opinion HERE)

The use of mifepristone has surged since the Dobbs decision, and chemical abortions now account for at least two-thirds of all abortions in the United States. The dramatic rise in the use of these pills is largely why abortion numbers are increasing throughout our country despite the overturn of Roe.

The outcome of this closely watched case was critical as it could have greatly limited the availability of the chemical abortion drug which would have saved countless babies from death and mothers from the harm of abortion. 

FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

Doctors Challenge the FDA’s Unlawful Removal of Safeguards Relating to the use of Mifepristone

A young adult with Students for Life of America,
a 2024 Council for Life Beneficiary, outside the U.S. Supreme Court

CFL has kept you apprised in one of the most consequential U.S. Supreme Court cases of the term. Alliance Defending Freedom originally filed the lawsuit in 2022 on behalf of a group of pro-life doctors and organizations with assertions including conscience injuries. (See Council for Life News HEREHEREHERE and HERE)

The High Court was considering the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal’s ruling in the case last August that upheld in part Federal District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s earlier decision in Amarillo, Texas. At issue before SCOTUS was whether the FDA violated the law by removing essential, commonsense safeguards in 2016 and 2021 necessary to protect the health of women relating to the use of mifepristone.

Because of the FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone, abortion pills can now be delivered in the mail without an in-person doctor’s visit. Thousands of women in states with abortion bans and restrictions like Texas are receiving abortion pills in the mail from states that have laws protecting prescribers. (See AP News article HERE)

SCOTUS Focused on “Standing” not even getting to the Merits

Pro-abortion rights demonstrators at the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments this past March and a pro-life advocate after the decision this past Thursday.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered the Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion, and Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion. The High Court held that the causation theories of injury from the FDA’s actions advanced by the plaintiff doctors were not sufficient to establish “standing” under Article III of the U.S. ConstitutionSCOTUS, therefore, never even addressed the merits of the case regarding the abortion pill and the FDA’s responsibility. 

Justice Kavanaugh wrote about the plaintiff doctors on behalf of the Court:

  • The doctors “do not prescribe or use mifepristone. And FDA is not requiring them to do or refrain from doing anything. Rather, the plaintiffs want FDA to make mifepristone more difficult for other doctors to prescribe and for pregnant women to obtain. Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue.”
  • That “given the broad and comprehensive conscience protections guaranteed by federal law, the plaintiffs have not shown—and cannot show—that FDA’s actions will cause them to suffer any conscience injuryFederal law fully protects doctors against being required to provide abortions or other medical treatment against their consciences—and therefore breaks any chain of causation between FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone and any asserted conscience injuries to the doctors.”
  • “The plaintiffs have sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone…But…the federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions.”

Battle for Life Wages On

There is Hope

Pro-life advocates pray outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Even though abortion advocates consider the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision a victory, pro-life efforts to restrict access to the abortion pill will persevere.

“I would expect the litigation to continue,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erin Hawley, who represented the pro-life doctors. “While we’re disappointed with the court’s decision, we will continue to advocate for women and work to restore commonsense safeguards for abortion drugs.”

In fact, many on the pro-abortion side readily admit they cannot become complacent. “We are far from out of the woods,” said Cecile Richards, a former President of Planned Parenthood and now a leader of American Bridge.

Opinion Provides Potential “Road Map” for Future Lawsuits

Justices Kavanaugh and Thomas Suggested Other Ways to Challenge Chemical Abortion Pills

Both Justice Kavanaugh’s unanimous opinion and the separate concurring opinion written by Justice Thomas include signals for other theories that pro-life advocates could employ.

Justice Kavanaugh stated, “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.”

Jacqueline Ayers, the Senior Vice President of Policy, Campaigns and Advocacy for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, stated the Thomas opinion “outlined who he believes would have standing, laying out a road map for anti-abortion activists to further undermine our right to access safe and effective medicine.”

Missouri, Kansas and Idaho are in the Fight

Missouri, Kansas and Idaho are challenging the FDA’s decision-making on mifepristone which could bring the merits of this case back to the U.S. Supreme Court. Among their alleged harms from the FDA’s actions are that women can receive abortion pills in the mail despite their state abortion bans, increased Medicaid costs because women end up in the ER after taking the drug, and violation of the Comstock Act. This case is pending before Federal District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. (See Missouri, Kansas and Idaho Complaint HERE)

Give Women Hurt by Chemical Abortion a Voice

Michele HendricksonDirector of Strategic Initiatives for Students for Life of America, a CFL 2024 Beneficiary, said that her organization regularly works with women who have been hurt by chemical abortion.

“As soon as we have more women who we know have been harmed by chemical abortion, who can now come forward and be able to plead that case, I believe that we’ll see more cases like this,” Hendrickson said. “We know women are out there. They just need to be given that voice and that ability.”

(See Washington Post article HEREADF Press Release HERENew York Times article HERE and Politico article HERE)

Where Are We Going with the “Salient” Abortion Issue?

Rosie the Riveter with a tattoo that says “My Body My Choice”
adorns the cover of The Economist.

Full Cover Theme in The Economist Recognizes Centrality of Abortion

The current featured cover story of The Economist, one of the most influential periodicals in the world, is abortionDr. Albert MohlerPresident of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently weighed in on the grim significance of this article and why it should have our attention.

Dr. Mohler observed that this cover story, along with a full-page editorial in The Economist, is meant to convey to the world that the issue of abortion is the most salient issue in the United States this year. Dr. Mohler states that “the Dobbs decision set off a wave of abortion rights activity.” The abortion advocates’ efforts to make abortion widely available, often to the moment of birth, is ferocious and relentless. His commentary is a sobering reminder of how much the world needs the pro-life message to be a light in the darkness.

(See Dr. Albert Mohler, The Briefing HERE and The Economist editorial HERE)

Join Us in Prayer

Please join Council for Life in our continued prayers for the safety and protection of the life of every pregnant woman and the life of every unborn child.

Please also join Council for Life in our continued prayers that our U.S. Supreme Court Justices will rule in pending and future abortion cases on the side of the sanctity of human life.

Thank you for joining Council for Life in our continued prayers for our Beneficiaries who boldly and bravely provide protection and care to women and unborn babies.

We pray for the transformation of our culture to welcome, cherish and defend God’s most precious gift of life.