Home Supreme Court overturns federal appeals court ruling, secures access to abortion medication
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Supreme Court overturns federal appeals court ruling, secures access to abortion medication

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Access to mifepristone, an abortion medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration more than 20 years ago, has been protected by the Supreme Court.

In Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, the Supreme Court overturned the federal appeals court ruling because the plaintiffs lacked standing in the case.

“This is a major relief for patients nationwide and a win over extremist attacks on reproductive freedom — for now,” Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, who represents Virginia’s District 4, said.

The Supreme Court’s ruling today “ends the latest meritless attempt to insert partisan politics into deeply personal health care decisions that should be made by individuals in consultation with their providers.”

McClellan said the decision is welcome news but the fight to protect reproductive freedom must continue. Americans “must remain vigilant for future attempts to restrict access to comprehensive reproductive health care. I will continue fighting alongside the Biden-Harris Administration and congressional Democrats to safeguard reproductive freedom and improve health outcomes for every American.”

Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner tweeted: “This is welcome news for access to a safe, tested medication. Let’s be clear, though: reproductive freedom is still very much under attack. We need to pass robust protections for IVF, birth control, and abortion.”

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia said anti-choice politicians have been on a crusade to ban abortion in the U.S. since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago.

“Today’s decision is a temporary victory for reproductive freedom, but these attacks are far from over — as evidenced by 147 of my colleagues having backed efforts to ban this safe, long-approved drug that more than five million women have taken free from government interference,” Spanberger said.

She added that the country should never have come “this close to fundamental freedoms of women in Virginia and across the country being stripped away. As the mother of three girls, I feel strongly that our daughters should not have to fight the battles that our mothers won — and I will not stand idly by while extreme lawmakers and judges continue to bring millions of women across our country to the precipice of losing access to reproductive care.”

In April 2023, following a federal court judge’s ruling to suspend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval of mifepristone, Spanberger joined 239 Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA to protect access to the drug.

 Later that month, after the Fifth Circuit ruled to block the use of mifepristone beyond seven weeks of pregnancy and barred its distribution by mail, Spanberger joined a new amicus brief alongside more than 250 lawmakers asking the Supreme Court to grant emergency relief from the Fifth Circuit ruling and stay a Texas-based federal judge’s ruling that suspended the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug.

Vote Pro-Choice Executive Director Sara Tabatabaie said her organization does not often get to breathe a sigh of relief for abortion providers and pregnant patients.

“Of course, this case was outrageous to begin with. Mifepristone is a safe, effective medication that’s been on the market for more than 20 years and is used in the majority of abortions in the United States,” Tabatabaie said. 

However, she said it is difficult to know how to feel “when the only reasonable decision in a case this unhinged is painted as a victory. But with an increasingly corrupt Supreme Court, this is where we are.”

According to Tabatabaie, the reality is that the Supreme Court’s decision today does not guarantee anything.

“The fact that it even got to the Supreme Court is extremely alarming and serves as a proof-point for the current Fifth Circuit Court’s extreme stance against reproductive rights,” she said.

Vote Pro-Choice, an organization that builds governing power for reproductive freedom and abortion access by supporting local and state-level candidates for office across the country, and by empowering the pro-choice majority of Americans to flex their power at the ballot box, will remain clear-eyed about what it is up against.

“Between the most recent attacks on IVF, and the moving efforts in state legislatures to classify abortion medication as a ‘controlled substance,’ our work to elevate and support pro-choice state and local leaders is more critical than ever before. These attacks so often originate in the states, and in a world without federal protections for reproductive freedom, our elected officials in city halls and state houses across the country are our first line of defense.”

Mifepristone: Supreme Court to hear case involving FDA-approved abortion medication – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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