The Controversy Over FDA’s Approval of Abortion Pill: Mifepristone

Did the FDA ignore the law in their push to approve abortion pills? A recent case has sparked controversy among liberals, with a first-of-its-kind claim that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never had the authority to approve the chemical abortion pill, mifepristone, when it did so in 2000. The plaintiffs, a coalition of national medical associations and doctors experienced in caring for pregnant and post-abortive women, have requested that the court find the FDA’s approval of the pill and its subsequent loosening of restrictions to be unlawful. They have also requested that the court order the FDA to withdraw its approval of the drug.

If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it would have an unprecedented impact on the availability of the drugs that make up the FDA’s two-drug regimen for chemical abortion: mifepristone and misoprostol. These drugs are responsible for nearly 50% of American abortions annually and represent the most common method used to terminate pregnancies in the U.S.The controversy surrounding the use of mifepristone is not new, with debates over its safety and effectiveness dating back to its approval by the FDA in 2000. For more information, Lars speaks with Emma Waters, a Research Associate in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation.