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All parents have “nightmare scenarios” for our kids, the hypothetical situations that keep us up at night. And for decades, the federal government has been making one of these nightmare scenarios real by making dangerous chemical abortion drugs available to women and teenage girls and stripping away basic safeguards.
But—finally—that nightmare just got a big wake-up call. On Friday, in a lawsuit in which Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent four medical associations and four doctors, a federal district court in Texas halted the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of chemical abortion drugs—drugs that have caused serious harm to countless women and girls in the past two decades. The Biden administration has seven days from the issuance of the decision to appeal before the court’s stay order goes into effect.
The FDA violated its authority to approve these drugs, but since 2000, it has recklessly allowed corporations to sell these dangerous drugs to women and girls. In 2021, the agency made things even worse by allowing online pharmacies to send these dangerous drugs through the mail.
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And all along, the FDA has stonewalled efforts to challenge its illegal actions. As the court wrote in its decision, the “FDA ignored [the Plaintiffs’] petitions for over sixteen years, even though the law requires an agency response within ‘180 days of receipt of the petition.’ Had FDA responded to Plaintiffs’ petitions within the 360 total days allotted, this case would have been in federal court decades earlier. Instead, FDA postponed and procrastinated for nearly 6,000 days.”
It’s no surprise why. The FDA, in collusion with pro-abortion politicians, never properly tested these drugs for safety in the first place and has continued to dismantle safety protections, so that it is now perfectly simple for a teenage girl, for example, to obtain chemical abortion drugs without a single physician visit or her parents’ knowledge—even though these drugs have been shown to cause intense pain and bleeding, and can often progress into worse complications, like hemorrhaging, life-threatening infection, and loss of fertility.
Teen girls facing an unexpected pregnancy are particularly vulnerable. They are trying to navigate a frightening, highly emotional situation; they often have fewer resources and less support; and their bodies are still developing, so abortion presents greater risks. Sometimes teens even try to get abortions in secret. This vulnerable group should be protected and cared for, but the government has ignored their unique situation.
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Chemical abortion consists of a two-drug course that includes an endocrine disruptor called mifepristone. When the FDA approved these drugs in 2000, it did not rely on any studies that looked at how these drugs affect women under the labelled use; all the studies at which it looked had safeguards in place that the FDA either never required or stopped requiring, like an ultrasound to determine gestational age or an in-person follow-up visit. And none of the studies focused on teen girls.
Here’s an illustration of just how big of an oversight this was: Imagine a study said that wearing a helmet when playing football makes the sport safe. Then imagine that the NFL relied on that study to determine that football is safe but then didn’t require players to wear helmets. Later, when someone points out that this is a dangerous situation, the NFL officials protest that they did plenty of research and proved that football is safe.
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Anyone can see that the officials, in this scenario, are not creating a safe environment—but this is just what the FDA did—and kept doing for 22 years. Putting endocrine disruptors like mifepristone into a teen girl’s developing body and reproductive system is a risky thing to do, and the FDA doesn’t have any valid evidence to the contrary.
Allowing teenage girls to take drugs that have been shown to cause hemorrhage, severe cramping, life-threatening infections, and incomplete abortions is dangerous. One in five women who take these drugs seek medical attention afterwards. But the FDA refused to acknowledge any of this and just kept removing safeguards.
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Whether you support abortion or not, everyone should be able to agree that teen girls should not take dangerous, unproven chemical drugs—and that teens should not be able to purchase these drugs through an online pharmacy, as the FDA allows, without ever visiting a doctor and without even telling their parents that they are pregnant.
Fortunately, the federal judiciary is finally holding the FDA accountable. Soon, under the court’s order to halt the approval of chemical abortion drugs, parents will no longer have to worry that the federal government is nudging their daughters towards a nightmare scenario.
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