‘Is pregnancy a serious illness?’

Circuit judges question FDA’s abortion pill approval and safety

By Carole Novielli
May 18, 2023

(Live Action) The case Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) v. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), regarding the status of the abortion pill, was argued Wednesday before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The lawsuit challenged the legitimacy of the drug’s 2000 approval — and at least one of the judges pushed back on the narrative that the FDA could ‘do no wrong,’ even suggesting the move to weaken the REMS for mifepristone and remove required reporting of non-fatal adverse events was not “very pro-science, pro-information, pro-intellectual curiosity” of the agency.

Tension arose when Circuit Court Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod, James Ho, and Cory Wilson grilled opposing counsel about disparaging remarks the abortion pill manufacturer (Danco Laboratories) made in its motion for a stay against the previous District Court’s ruling. That ruling was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, who suspended the FDA’s 2000 approval of the abortion pill mifepristone and all FDA abortion pill decisions made thereafter. A temporary stay was later issued by the Supreme Court until the case could be heard on appeal.

Arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Erin Hawley told the Court, “This case isn’t about ending abortion, it’s about challenging a particularly dangerous type of abortion.”

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