Supreme Court Will Decide Another Abortion Case

The case could have serious impacts on access to mifepristone, a drug used in most abortions today.

December 13, 2023 10:29 am

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced today that it would hear another case — Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA — with the potential for serious effects on people’s ability to access abortion. Just 18 months after overturning Roe v. Wade, the court agreed to review a decision in a case brought by anti-abortion activists that would make it far more difficult for people nationwide to access mifepristone, a medication used in most abortions in this country today. Mifepristone has been safely used by more than 5 million people to end a pregnancy since it was approved nearly a quarter century ago, and is part of the gold standard for some miscarriage care.

In response to the Supreme Court’s announcement, Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, issued the following statement:

“Since the Court overturned Roe, it has been increasingly difficult for people to get an abortion if they need one, and the court’s decision in this case could make it even more difficult for people to access abortion and could force some people to remain pregnant against their will. Let’s be clear: This case is the next step in the extremists’ plan to prevent anyone in the country from being able to get an abortion no matter where they live. In addition to its devastating effect on people’s ability to get an abortion, a decision siding with anti-abortion groups would severely undermine drug innovation and threaten the development and approval of lifesaving medicines, jeopardizing patients’ access to other critical medications they rely on today.”

The case comes to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Department of Justice and Danco Laboratories, LLC asked the court to review a decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This decision could have serious effects on the availability of abortion by imposing restrictions on people’s ability to access mifepristone that the FDA has determined are unnecessary and hamper people’s access to the care they need. If the Supreme Court allows the lower court ruling to stand, it would impose severe, medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone, blocking people from being able to receive mifepristone by mail like other similarly safe medications and instead forcing them to travel, sometimes hundreds of miles, just to pick up their medication. It would also prohibit many qualified health care professionals from prescribing mifepristone for abortion and miscarriage care, thus depriving some patients access to this critical medication altogether.

In addition to its harmful impact on abortion access, the decision would upend the drug approval process for other critical medications. That’s why 20 patient advocacy groups, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, and numerous others, filed a brief outlining the catastrophic implications of this case for all Americans’ access to life-saving medical care.

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA is a part of the ACLU’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Supreme Court Docket.

The Supreme Court’s order can be found here.

More information on the impacts of the case can be found here.

An overview of the case can be found here.



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