Court Battles

Nearly all Congressional Democrats urge Supreme Court to block abortion pill restrictions

A group of more than 250 Democratic lawmakers filed an amicus brief on Friday to request the Supreme Court to issue a full stop to “dangerous” restrictions on access to abortion pills.

All Senate Democrats — except for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — and 203 out of 213 House Democrats signed their names to support the Biden administration’s appeal for the Supreme Court to uphold the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, one of two approved abortion pills in the country. 

A release from Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee states that the brief is backing the administration’s appeal in opposition to rulings from U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that suspended the FDA’s approval of the pill and from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that did not revoke the pill’s approval entirely but upheld certain restrictions on it. 

The FDA’s approval of mifepristone was jeopardized last week after Kacsmaryk ruled that the agency improperly rushed the approval process for the drug more than 20 years ago and violated federal standards. 

The Biden administration and Danco Laboratories, which manufactures the pill, appealed the ruling to the appeals court, which ruled that the pill could stay on the market but rolled back some recent changes that the FDA implemented to make accessing the pill easier. 

The Supreme Court paused the appeals court’s ruling on Friday, ordering the status quo to remain in place at least until Wednesday to give the court time to consider the administration’s emergency request for a stay on the appeals court ruling. 

The lawmakers argued in the brief that the rulings from the district court and appeals court do not “have any basis in law,” could cause patients throughout the country to be denied access to mifepristone and undermine the FDA’s drug approval process. 

They emphasized, as the Biden administration and Danco have, that mifepristone has been proven to be both safe and effective. 

“Decades after FDA’s initial approval—yet somehow in an emergency posture—the district court intruded into FDA’s drug approval process, casting a shadow of uncertainty over its decisions,” the lawmakers said. “The perils of this unwarranted judicial intervention into science-based determinations can hardly be overstated.” 

The group said researchers, medical providers and patients experiencing a range of health conditions rely on the “integrity and stability of the rigorous science-based drug approval process.” 

“The specter of precipitous judicial meddling therefore threatens access to life-improving and lifesaving drugs,” the lawmakers wrote.

The signers further argued that the FDA followed the “careful review process” for approving medication before it approved mifepristone in 2000, and the approval has been “repeatedly affirmed” in the 20 years since then. 

A group of 240 Democrats previously filed an amicus brief on Tuesday to urge the appeals court to block the district judge’s ruling.

Tags abortion pill fda Food and Drug Administration Joe Biden Joe Manchin mifepristone

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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