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Anti-abortion groups ask U.S. court to pull approval for abortion drugs


Signage is seen outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Maryland, U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Anti-abortion groups on Friday filed a lawsuit asking a court to overturn U.S. regulators’ approval of the drug mifepristone for medication abortion, which could hobble access to medication abortion nationwide.

The lawsuit, filed in Amarillo, Texas, federal court by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and others, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lacked authority to approve the drug for abortion when it did so in 2000 and that it failed to study its risks for minors adequately.

The FDA “failed America’s women and girls when it chose politics over science and approved chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States,” the lawsuit said.

The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. President Joe Biden’s administration earlier this year moved to expand access to medication abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights nationwide.

Mifepristone is a prescription drug approved by the FDA to induce an abortion up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. It must be followed by a second drug, misoprostol. Both drugs also have other uses.

The plaintiffs in Friday’s lawsuit said the FDA improperly approved mifepristone for abortion in 2000 under an expedited process intended to allow patients quicker access to better treatments for an illness, even though pregnancy is not an illness, and waived a requirement to study it separately for pediatric patients.

The Supreme Court’s June ruling put a spotlight on medication abortion, which accounts for more than half of U.S. abortions. A Dutch supplier of abortion pills by mail saw demand surge in the wake of the decision, which has allowed more than 20 states to begin enforcing new restrictions on abortion.

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