Christian Medical & Dental Associations celebrates unanimous panel decision in federal court to protect women and girls

August 17, 2023

Bristol, Tenn.—August 17, 2023—Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), which is the nation’s largest faith-based professional healthcare association, is celebrating a significant court victory to protect the health and safety of women and girls against chemical abortion drugs. In Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a unanimous panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must restore critical safeguards for chemical abortion drugs and disallow their shipment by mail.


“As healthcare professionals, we count on the FDA to prioritize safety in the drug approval process, but they categorically failed in that responsibility by pushing chemical abortion drugs on women and girls without important safeguards,” said CMDA Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeff Barrows, who is an OB/Gyn. “This unanimous decision from the 5th Circuit shows that the FDA chose access to chemical abortion drugs over patient safety, holds the FDA accountable for their actions and, more importantly, protects women and girls from drugs that cause harm.”


The first case of its kind, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration sought to right the wrongs made when the FDA illegally approved chemical abortion drugs back in 2000—as well as the harms that have occurred in the decades since by the FDA removing the few safeguards that were in place.


“The 5th Circuit rightly required the FDA to do its job and restore crucial safeguards for women and girls, including ending illegal mail-order abortions,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Erin Hawley, vice president of the ADF Center for Life and Regulatory Practice, who argued before the court. “The FDA will finally be made to account for the damage it has caused to the health of countless women and girls and the rule of law by unlawfully removing every meaningful safeguard from the chemical abortion drug regimen. The FDA’s unprecedented and unlawful actions did not reflect scientific judgment but rather revealed politically driven decisions to push a dangerous drug regimen without regard to women’s health or the rule of law.”


The court’s ruling would prohibit abortion providers from sending chemical abortion drugs through the mail, which the FDA had been allowing since 2021 in direct violation of longstanding federal law. It would also limit the permissible gestational age for chemical abortion drugs to seven weeks’ gestation. However, the stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year prevents any change in prescribing requirements for chemical abortion drugs until the U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to review the case. The 5th Circuit held that the FDA’s 2016 action violated the Administrative Procedure Act and upheld the district court’s conclusion reinstating the original 2000 safeguards, including the seven weeks’ gestational limitation, necessary office visits, non-fatal adverse event reporting and physician dispensation.


Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights and the sanctity of life. ADF attorneys filed this lawsuit against the FDA in November 2022 on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and doctors Shaun Jester, Regina Frost-Clark, Tyler Johnson and George Delgado.


Made up of five founding organizations, which includes CMDA, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is dedicated to upholding and promoting the fundamental principles of Hippocratic medicine. These principles include protecting the vulnerable at the beginning and end of life, seeking the ultimate good for the patient with compassion and moral integrity, and providing healthcare with the highest standards of excellence based on medical science.


“A close look at the medical science reveals there are significant risks associated with chemical abortion,” said Dr. Barrows. “The FDA illegally put politics first, but now is the time we put politics aside and put patient safety first.”


For more information about the case, visit www.adflegal.org. For more information about the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, visit www.allianceforhippocraticmedicine.com. For more information about CMDA, visit www.cmda.org.



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