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American Association of People with Disabilities Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Retain FDA Approval of Mifepristone

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Accessibility, Disability Rights, Health, Press Release

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2024

Contact: Jess Davidson at jdavidson@aapd.com; 202-975-0960

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court announced its unanimous decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) not to roll back FDA approval for Mifepristone, claiming that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to sue. This drug is used to end pregnancy, as well as treat certain chronic conditions like Cushing’s disease and uterine fibroids. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) applauds this decision, declaring it a win for people with disabilities who need to access healthcare, including abortion.

Mifepristone (miff-ay-priss-tone) is one of two medications used to end a pregnancy by blocking the development of a hormone called progesterone, which pregnancies need to continue. It is also used to help manage pregnancy loss by helping the body to miscarry safely. It is also regularly used to help manage symptoms of dozens of conditions from Cushing’s disease, Gulf War illness, and cancer because it also blocks the hormone cortisol. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, many states restricted access to mifepristone, which created barriers to effective treatment for many people with disabilities, either seeking abortion care or other kinds of healthcare.

After a comprehensive review, the FDA approved mifepristone more than twenty years ago and determined it to be completely safe and effective. Yet in November of 2022, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine sued the FDA, claiming that the FDA went beyond its authority in its approval for Mifepristone. The lawsuit further challenged the FDA’s approval process and the conditions for distributing mifepristone.

Overriding the FDA’s scientific processes for approval and review of any medication on a basis not rooted in scientific fact but in individual physicians’ personal, religious, or political views would set an alarming precedent. This case called into question the future of drugs and treatment control – if it was not under the control of the FDA, whose staff and clinicians are experts in these areas, then whose control would it be under? And if access to mifepristone is denied, what treatment is next?

“A physician’s personal beliefs should not affect whether or not they will prescribe any drug, including medication used for medication abortion,” said Maria Town, AAPD President and CEO. “The Supreme Court rejected a dangerous precedent, one that would have been enacted not in the name of scientific fact or patient safety but because of physicians’ personal beliefs. When a doctor decides to prescribe or not prescribe any medication, the only factor should be what is in the patient’s best interest. The Court made the right decision by dismissing the attempt to restrict access to mifepristone, enabling this drug to stay on the market, and upholding the FDA’s regulatory authority.”