Breaking: Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA Supreme Court Case Decided - Reproductive Freedom for All

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Mifepristone Blog

Breaking: Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA Supreme Court Case Decided

Last updated: 6/13/24.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 13, 2024 to not restrict mifepristone.

While this is a relief, this baseless case should have never made it this far. Anti-abortion extremists worked for decades to overturn Roe—and they will keep chipping away at medication abortion and every single one of our other fundamental freedoms unless we stop them.

The Case

Anti-abortion groups filed a federal lawsuit in a Texas district court challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its decades-old approval of mifepristone, one of the two medications typically used to provide medication abortion care. The lawsuit sought to revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone in an attempt to effectively ban medication abortion nationwide.

Lower courts ruled to revoke the approval of mifepristone and to immediately instate medically unnecessary restrictions on it—those rulings have since been blocked. Now, the Supreme Court will decide if significant and unnecessary restrictions will be put in place on mifepristone.

Why does this case matter?

Medication abortion is the most commonly used method of abortion. Restricting mifepristone nationwide would have severe consequences on people’s ability to access critical abortion and miscarriage care. Abortion access in our country is already in crisis after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. If access to mifepristone is restricted, more than 64.5 million people will face increased barriers to abortion care, impacting their ability to make their own decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is mifepristone?

Mifepristone is one of two pills typically used in medication abortion care.

For over 20 years, medication abortion has been a safe and effective FDA-approved option for ending an early pregnancy. It’s also used for miscarriage management.

How did this case even get in front of the Supreme Court?

Anti-abortion groups filed this lawsuit specifically in a Texas district court so it would be heard by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk—a Trump-appointed judge whose nomination we opposed and who has issued many anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-contraception opinions. Two of the key studies he cited in his ruling to severely restrict mifepristone have since been retracted because of unreliable findings.

I live in a state where abortion is legal. Will this affect me?

Yes. A Supreme Court ruling could result in significant restrictions being placed on the prescription and dispensation of mifepristone for medication abortion and miscarriage treatment, no matter where you live.

If there is a negative Supreme Court ruling, will I still be able to access abortion care?

Yes. Depending on how the Court rules, mifepristone could still remain available but with significant restrictions on who would be able to access it. In-clinic care for procedural abortion access will not be affected by this ruling. It is likely that with the restriction of medication abortion options, the availability of clinic appointments will be impacted and make it much harder to obtain one.

We have compiled a list of trusted partners if you need resources for accessing abortion care.

What’s the difference between medication abortion and birth control pills or emergency contraception?

Birth control and emergency contraception (such as Plan B) prevent pregnancy in different ways, while medication abortion ends an early pregnancy.

Medication abortion (also known as abortion pills): Medication that is taken to end a pregnancy. The two medications typically used in the U.S. are mifepristone and misoprostol.

Birth control: There are many different birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. The most common include condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, and diaphragms.

Emergency contraception (also known as Plan B and the morning-after pill): The morning-after pill is an effective emergency form of birth control that is used to prevent pregnancy after sex.


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Legal Timeline

 

On June 13, 2024 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to not restrict mifepristone.


On March 26, 2024 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on this case.


On December 13, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear this case. They will decide in 2024 if significant and unnecessary restrictions will be put in place on mifepristone, a safe and effective medication. Read More.


On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Department of Justice’s request for a stay in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, blocking lower courts’ dangerous rulings that would have severely restricted access to mifepristone. Mifepristone will remain available for now. This fight however, is far from over. Read More.


On April 14, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an administrative stay until Wednesday, April 19 at midnight on two lower court efforts meant to restrict access to medication abortion with mifepristone nationwide. Read More.


On April 13, 2023, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a partial stay in the federal case that could effectively ban mifepristone in all 50 states. While the court blocked large parts of Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling meant to remove FDA approval of mifepristone, it also reinstated outdated and medically unnecessary restrictions on the safe and effective medication that were previously lifted by the FDA while litigation continues. The case is now likely to be appealed and eventually head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Read More.


Research Updates

Behind the anti-abortion movement’s latest attempt to rig the game and attack reproductive freedom is the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM)—a coalition of right-wing organizations cooked up to push for a national backdoor ban on medication abortion.

As Reproductive Freedom for All’s new report explains, AHM isn’t a legitimate organization—they didn’t even exist until late 2021 and had no web presence until 2023.

The anti-abortion movement strategically designed and deployed AHM to carry out its baseless campaign to block access to mifepristone nationwide. Read More.