Americans United for Life filed a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of 102 Members of Congress in American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. United States Food and Drug Administration (ACOG v. FDA) (4th Cir. No. 20-1824). It is led by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS) and Rep. Bob Latta (OH-05), and joined by 24 Senators and 78 Members of the House of Representatives representing 34 states.

The brief argues that the district court judge incorrectly applied the June Medical Services decision when he placed an injunction on the Mifeprex REMS guideline called the “in-person requirement.”

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of abortion doctors and pro-abortion trade groups sued the FDA in an attempt to subvert the FDA’s rules requiring that the chemical abortion pill Mifepristone be dispensed in-person by a certified provider. The goal is to send abortion pills by mail without ever seeing a patient in person. Katie Glenn, Government Affairs Counsel at Americans United for Life, responded to the negligence of the abortion industry saying:

Removing the in-person dispensing requirement increases the risk of serious health complications and the likelihood that the drug will be misused. The district court erroneously presumed the safety of Mifeprex despite two decades of recorded complications, including deaths. Fortunately, 102 Members of Congress appreciate the seriousness of this issue and that it should be left to lawmakers and agency experts to determine appropriate health and safety policy. The Fourth Circuit should recognize agency subject-matter expertise and reinstate the FDA’s regulations.

In 2000, the FDA approved, with established limitations, the new drug application for Mifeprex (mifepristone), a drug approved for the sole purpose of terminating early pregnancy. Over the past two decades, the drug itself has not changed; the abortion industry’s willingness to forego basic health and safety protections to distribute the pills as quickly and inexpensively as possible has. The at-home abortion regime being pushed in this lawsuit would significantly increase the risk of serious health complications. Removing the in-person requirement at the federal level stands to frustrate or invalidate health and safety laws in many states.

One district judge in Maryland, in the name of a “constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy,” invalidated twenty years of federal government agency policy across the entire country.

The Fourth Circuit will hear arguments in the case in early 2021.