USA – US Supreme Court unanimously rejects anti-abortion attempt to ban mifepristone

Two years after rejecting the US Constitutional right to abortion, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 to overturn a lower court’s decision to roll back U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rulings in 2016 and 2021 that outlined how mifepristone should be prescribed and distributed as part of the two-drug regime of mifepristone & misoprostol.

Not because the Trump-appointed anti-abortion justices suddenly turned pro-abortion, but because even the most anti-abortion among them could see that the case didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. Given FDA regulatory approval in 2000, abortion pills are now used in more than 60% of U.S. abortions. The justices ruled that the plaintiffs, who first sued in Texas in 2022, lacked the necessary legal standing to pursue the case, which required them to show they had been harmed in a way that can be traced to the FDA regulations.

In addition to the legal issues directly related to mifepristone, a ruling in favour of the plaintiffs would have threatened the authority of the FDA as the expert on all drug safety. The case was therefore about far more than abortion, but about the scientific validity of the rulings of the group who take decisions about the safety of all drugs and medications and have an excellent international reputation of long-standing in doing so. Anti-abortion activists continue to claim, despite having absolutely no credible evidence, that mifepristone is unsafe, and in the face of decades of evidence internationally that it is one of the safest medications available.

In a national poll by Reuters/Ipsos in May 2024, some 57% of US respondents said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up from 46% in Reuters/Ipsos polls conducted a decade ago, while 31% of respondents said abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, down from 43% in 2014 polls.

SOURCE: Reuters, by Andrew Chung, with Gabriella Borter and Jim Oliphant, 13 June 2024, updated several days later. Photo from the video accompanying the article.