Lankford Challenges FDA’s Deregulation of Chemical Abortion Drugs

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) along with Representative August Pfluger (R-TX) filed an amicus curiae brief in a case before the US Supreme Court that challenges the federal government’s deregulation of chemical abortion drugs. The lawmakers’ bicameral amicus brief in US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine squarely refutes FDA deregulation of chemical abortion drugs in 2016 and 2021, including allowing the distribution of mail-order abortion drugs without the oversight of doctors.

“The FDA has ignored the health risks of chemical abortion drugs to women and babies. They have eliminated reporting requirements when a woman experiences extreme adverse effects, taken doctors out of the equation, and are breaking federal law by allowing women to receive the chemical abortion drug in the mail and take it at home. I urge the Supreme Court to protect women from the FDA’s lack of restrictions on chemical abortion pills,” said Lankford. 

“The intent of our friend-of-the-court brief makes the case for holding the FDA accountable for endangering the lives of women and girls in its march to make abortion-inducing drugs easily available.  It is about taking to task a federal agency that has willingly and aggressively subverted federal law,” said Hyde-Smith.  “I hope the brief is well received as this case is heard by the justices.”

“The FDA is not only breaking the law by making dangerous abortion drugs available through the mail without proper medical oversight, but they are also endangering the safety of women and girls,” said Pfluger.  “I am proud to lead this initiative with Senator Hyde-Smith to keep politics out of health care.”

The brief provides a federal policy perspective as to why FDA acted in violation of federal law in 2016 and 2021 when it endangered the health and safety of women and girls by deregulating mifepristone (in combination with misoprostol) to broaden access to the chemical abortion drugs. In 2016, the FDA eased safety precautions regarding the administration of the abortion drugs, including doing away with in-person and follow-up doctor visits, and eliminated reporting requirements for non-fatal adverse events. During the pandemic, the FDA in 2021 allowed mifepristone to be delivered by mail in violation of federal law.

In their amicus brief that can be read here, the lawmakers contend:

I.  The FDA’s failure to adhere to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) has created significant health and safety risks to women and girls.
   A. The FDA Subverted Patient Safeguards in the FDCA.
   B. Chemical Abortion Drugs Carry Significant Risks for Women and Girls.
   C. The FDA’s Actions Have Endangered Patient Health and Safety.
II.  The FDA has permitted mail-order chemical abortion drugs in violation of federal law.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mike Braun (R-IN), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Todd Young (R-IN), John Thune (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Rick Scott (R-FL), Katie Britt (R-AL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined in sending the brief.

As the Senate’s most pro-life member, Lankford has been a leading voice for the protection of life. He spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the 2024 March for Life to stand with every woman and for every child. Lankford recently published an op-ed detailing the dangers of chemical abortions, as well as an episode of The Breakdown with James Lankford podcast on the same topic.