An Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer handling a closely watched case on the abortion pill, which heads to the Fifth Circuit for oral arguments on May 17, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it’s time to hold the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accountable for decades of “stonewalling judicial review” on its decision to approve the pill.
The case, Alliance Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, was subject to fast-tracked litigation after the government appealed a district court’s April 7 ruling that suspended access to the pill, a decision the Supreme Court temporarily blocked on April 21 pending the Fifth Circuit’s coming review. ADF Legal Counsel Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo said coming oral arguments in the Fifth Circuit provide an opportunity to argue why the district court’s ruling suspending the pill “should be upheld in its entirety.”
“Our doctors are on the front lines treating women in emergency rooms across America,” she told the DCNF. “We have four plaintiff medical associations who have doctors in all 50 states who are dealing with the fallout from the FDA’s unlawful actions and cleaning up after these abortionists, who are recklessly dispensing drugs to women without diagnosing ectopic pregnancies, without making sure they are near a hospital at the time they are doing the chemical abortion procedure, and not ensuring that they get follow up treatment.”
Steinmiller-Perdomo said the FDA “misused” its approval authority when it approved mifepristone, the first of two drugs used in a chemical abortion, under accelerated approval regulations that forced them to categorize pregnancy as a “serious or life threatening illness.”
The government argues in its brief filed April 26 that plaintiffs “lack standing,” noting that they have “not shown that they will be injured at all, much less irreparably, by maintaining the status quo that they left unchallenged for years and that the Supreme Court has now preserved during these proceedings.”
ADF disagrees: The doctors it represents have been affected by the FDA’s approval — whether by being pulled away from their work with other patients to help women coming in with abortion-related complications or, as one Texas-based doctor they represent has had to do, being forced to surgically finish incomplete chemical abortions, Steinmiller-Perdomo said.
In some cases, “chemical abortion drugs don’t actually work to finish the abortion,” Steinmiller-Perdomo told the DCNF, noting women sometimes need to go in for follow-up surgeries to remove remaining pregnancy tissue from the womb, which “can lead to infections.” Ten percent of women who use the abortion pill will need follow-up medical treatment, ADF writes in its complaint.
The case could end up back at the Supreme Court, Steinmiller-Perdomo said, because the Biden administration has shown it is “not willing to accept whatever ruling comes out of the appellate court if it’s not in their favor.” For now, the Fifth Circuit’s partial stay doesn’t give much indication as to how it may rule after hearing oral arguments, she said, though they are feeling confident.
“There was a really strong ruling out of the district court,” she said. “I think any reviewing court would uphold it on the law.”
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