Possible Mifepristone Ban Threatens American’s Abortion Rights


Adelyn Rabbitt, Reporter

In recent weeks, the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug mifepristone was challenged and brought to court. The drug in question is one of the two pills used in medical abortions. Mifepristone stops the production of progesterone in the body, which in turn ends a pregnancy. On April 7th, a federal judge in Texas decided to suspend the approval of mifepristone, in turn banning the drug. This ban was put into place while the judge was hearing a lawsuit by anti-abortion activists (Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine) in which they presented their doubt relating to the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. The group sued the FDA in hopes of mifepristone being disapproved and banned. The group’s argument is that the FDA used a flawed process in reviewing the drug, not considering its safety when used by minors.

The potential ban was handed off to the Supreme Court to be either finalized or disapproved. On April 12th, three judges of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to ban the drug, but to instead put much stricter rules around the purchasing and use of the drug. These rules were 1) only women who are less than seven weeks pregnant can use the drug, 2) three in-person doctor visits are required for those using the drug, and 3) the drug can no longer be sent in the mail to patients.

On April 24th, the Supreme Court decided to put a halt to the decision made by the appeals court, temporarily keeping all of the new possible regulations off of mifepristone. As of now, mifepristone access has not changed. However, it is likely that this will not be the case for long. The court case that is now called Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA is set to return to the court on May 17th, when oral arguments will be heard.

While it is good that access to mifepristone is continuing for now, it is concerning that this case and the potential outcome could decrease abortion rights even further, not even a year after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Not much can be done to stop the almost inevitable restrictions being placed on the drug, but Joe Biden has made it clear that he will do what he can to keep the ban reversed.