Supreme Court Rejects Legal Challenge To Abortion Pill Mifepristone

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The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) loosening of restrictions on the common abortion drug mifepristone. The court ruled that a group of anti-abortion doctors lacked legal standing to bring the challenge. The decision is a significant victory for the Biden administration, which appealed a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision that the FDA's actions easing access to mifepristone were unlawful.

The case, known as FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, centered on the pill mifepristone, which is taken along with another drug to terminate an early pregnancy. The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000, and more than 5 million patients have taken it since. The FDA took steps in 2016 and 2021 to make mifepristone more accessible, including allowing it to be taken later into a pregnancy and delivered through the mail without an in-person doctor's visit. A group of anti-abortion rights doctors and medical associations challenged these changes, claiming the FDA violated the law.

The Supreme Court's decision to dismiss the case on the grounds of lack of standing means that the court did not rule on whether the FDA acted lawfully when it relaxed the requirements for obtaining mifepristone. The justices focused their questions on whether the doctors who filed the lawsuit had shown that they may be injured by the FDA's actions and whether those alleged injuries could be traced to the FDA's easing of the rules. The court's decision leaves the FDA's actions in place, preserving access to mifepristone nationwide.


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