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June 13, 2024

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court issued a ruling today in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA unanimously rejecting a request by anti-abortion groups to impose nationwide restrictions on mifepristone, a safe and effective medication used in almost two-thirds of abortions nationwide and also used for miscarriage care. The case reached the Supreme Court after a federal district judge in Texas attempted to remove mifepristone from the market and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals imposed severe nationwide restrictions. In today’s ruling, the Supreme Court reversed the Fifth Circuit’s decision on the ground that the anti-abortion doctors who brought the case do not have a sufficient connection to the FDA’s regulation of mifepristone for legal standing. The decision will preserve the state-level patchwork of access to medication abortion for now.

After the Supreme Court took the case, the federal judge in Texas, Matthew Kacsmaryk, granted a request by Idaho, Missouri, and Kansas to join the case as plaintiffs. Those states have indicated that they will try to continue to litigate this case, stepping into the anti-abortion doctors’ shoes in an ongoing attempt to attack access to medication abortion nationwide.

Statement from Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project:

“We are relieved the Supreme Court didn’t take this bait, but unfortunately we know that this is far from the end of the line. Although the Court refused to allow these particular people to bring this case, anti-abortion politicians are waiting in the wings to attempt to continue pushing this case before an extremist judge in Texas in an effort to deny people access to medication abortion care. At the same time, the Supreme Court is set to decide another abortion case which will determine whether politicians can force doctors to withhold emergency room care from their patients while they suffer severe, life-altering pregnancy complications. These cases show the extreme lengths politicians will go to prevent people from getting the reproductive health care they need.”

Mifepristone has been safely used by 6 million people in the United States to end a pregnancy since FDA approved it nearly a quarter century ago, and it is part of the gold standard medication regimen for miscarriage treatment.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in this case highlighting how the lower court decisions imposing sweeping restrictions on mifepristone relied heavily on unreliable testimony and flawed research from a handful of witnesses who oppose abortion in all circumstances and want to see it banned nationwide. These so-called experts regularly testify in defense of abortion bans in cases brought by the ACLU and partners, and both they and the studies on which they rely have routinely been found by other courts to lack any credibility.

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