The Trump administration is appealing a decision that allows women to obtain the abortion pill by mail without seeing a doctor.
At issue is a decision by U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in early July that overturned an FDA rule requiring the abortion pill to be administered only in clinics, medical offices or hospitals. Under FDA rules, it is not available in pharmacies. Chuang’s ruling allowed the abortion pill to be mailed to women.
The Trump Justice Department filed an appeal to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals July 24, arguing Chuang’s ruling endangers the health of women because they can’t be counseled and observed by medical personnel.
The abortion pill actually encompasses two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to break down and kill the unborn baby. Misoprostol sparks contractions and a delivery of the dead child. They can be taken only early in the pregnancy. The two pills are taken up to 48 hours apart.
The Justice Department asked the Fourth Circuit to “stay,” or halt, Chuang’s decision.
“Defendants will … suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a stay because they will be unable to enforce requirements that FDA has determined, based on its experience and scientific expertise, are necessary to ensure safe use of Mifeprex [or, mifepristone],” the Justice Department said in its appeal. “Requiring patients to obtain Mifeprex at a clinic – as has been required for years – does not deprive women of the ‘ability to make a decision to have an abortion.’”
The in-person dispensing requirement, the Justice Department said, “is not to monitor patients for complications, but rather to ensure that: (1) at the time of dispensing, the patient has the opportunity to receive counseling about the risk of serious complications associated with Mifeprex and what to do should they arise; and (2) there is no delay in the patient receiving their Mifeprex prescription, which could increase the risks of serious bleeding or infection.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, applauded the administration for filing an appeal.
“The FDA put women’s safety first and hit back against the ridiculous claims from abortionists that they should be able to make a quick sale without safeguards,” Hawkins said. “The abortion lobby’s push to risk women’s lives shows again that this is not about healthcare, which saves lives, this is Chemical Abortion, deadly and predatory.”
Chuang was nominated by President Obama.
Photo courtesy: Thought Catalog/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.