US appeals court hears arguments in abortion pill case

Betsy Goodfellow | May 18, 2023 | News story | Medical Communications Obstetrics & Gynaecology, abortion, medication abortion, mifepristone, reproduction 

The ongoing court battle surrounding the contested approval of mifepristone, one of the drugs used in medication abortions, has now moved to the US federal appeals court, where judges at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals have been hearing arguments around whether to maintain the pill’s availability.

In April 2022, the US Supreme Court decided to preserve access to the drug while the case is ongoing, meaning mifepristone is currently still on the market in the US.

Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Harrington, who was arguing on the side of Biden’s administration, called the case an “unprecedented” attack on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expertise.

Judge James Ho retorted “You’ve said ‘unprecedented.’ We had a challenge to the [FDA] just yesterday. […] We are allowed to look at the FDA just like we’re allowed to look at any agency. That’s the role of the courts.”

The court’s decision will have serious implications for abortion access in the US, with its decision potentially revoking the FDA’s 20-year-old approval of the drug as well as reversing the agency’s steps to improve access to medication abortions.

A final decision on the case could be months away, and it is expected that it will come before the Supreme Court again to issue a final ruling.

Betsy Goodfellow

Related Content


US Supreme Court refuses Trump administration’s request to restrict delivery of abortion medication

The US Supreme Court has struck down a request from the Trump administration to restrict …


Ted Cruz and 19 other GOP Senators ask FDA to remove Danco’s abortion drug Mifeprex from the market

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and 19 other senators have sent a letter to the FDA …

Latest content