Supreme Court Decision on the Case Against the FDA

On June 13, 2024, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) did not have legal standing to challenge the FDA’s previous actions to remove safeguards and loosen safety standards related to the medications that induce abortion. Therefore, the case was dismissed without a hearing. The bottom line: FDA’s actions to remove safeguards from the medications remain intact.

As a medical provider, we find this case dismissal is not in the best interest of the public who should always be provided with risk notifications on any medication.

We thought it might be helpful to answer some important questions related to this decision.

How does medication abortion work?

There are two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone necessary for sustaining pregnancy. Amongst other functions, it maintains the endometrium (uterine lining) and prevents preterm uterine contractions. Misoprostol induces labor by softening the cervix and stimulating contractions.

What safeguards had been removed?

  • The gestational limits were increased from seven to ten weeks
  • The dosage of mifepristone and misoprostol were altered
  • Certain adverse effects no longer needed to be reported
  • In 2021, the in-person dispensing requirement was removed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Why did the AHM propose to reinstate mifepristone safeguards?

The goal of the AHM is to protect both women and medical professionals. The removal of safeguards has put women at risk by making it less likely that a woman will be evaluated by a doctor either before or after her abortion while increasing the failure rate of mifepristone by lowering dosage and extending the maximum gestational age. The AHM argues this shifts the burden of care from doctor’s offices to hospitals and cites the mifepristone drug label that states 2.9-4.6% of women in a study ended up in the ER after taking mifepristone.1

The removal of safeguards, especially the requirement for women to be seen in person, also makes it certain that some women experiencing complications will be seen by a different doctor than the one who prescribed the medication (such as an emergency room doctor). This puts doctors who morally oppose abortion in the difficult position of potentially providing care to women in need in a way that now involves them in the abortion process.

What does the SCOTUS decision mean?

This decision means that mifepristone safeguards will not be reinstated. Left unchallenged, the FDA could potentially change regulations in the future that further place ease of access over safety.

What is the official response from Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Denver, CO?

Alternatives Pregnancy Center believes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has failed to protect the health, safety and welfare of pregnant women and girls by eliminating important safety information for mifepristone and misoprostol (abortion pills).

A message from Alternatives

We feel some abortion pill providers are putting the health of women at risk by not requiring proof of pregnancy or an ultrasound before prescribing or dispensing the abortion pill. It is vital, for the health and safety of anyone who is pregnant, to confirm a pregnancy with an ultrasound. At Alternatives, we will continue to provide early access to healthcare with free, limited pregnancy ultrasounds through a team of registered, licensed medical professionals. For more information, click this link.

We are also here for women who have experienced abortion. The current requirements make abortion a more isolating event than ever before, without even the presence of a doctor to check in on a woman’s physical health, let alone her mental and emotional well-being and overall situation. Alternatives is honored to provide free and confidential Counseling After Abortion to women (and men), who may feel alone or are experiencing grief because of this experience.

Abortion is often portrayed as women’s reproductive health, but we know it is so much more. We know that when a woman is facing a decision regarding her pregnancy, there are often many, and usually very difficult, factors involved. Rather than accepting the narrative that women are helped by making abortion more accessible, Alternatives is here to see every person in an unexpected pregnancy as a whole person and offer support in every dimension of their health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual).

If you are interested in supporting our mission, please visit YouhaveAlternatives.org/GetInvolved.