Did the Good Guys Just Get a Big Win?
Did the Good Guys Just Get a Big Win?
The Fifth District Court just struck down U.S. FDA’s lenient abortion pill distribution protocols in the latest of this ongoing legal battle. This is most assuredly a pro-life win. Below are the highlights, important context, and projections of what will happen next. If you benefit from this, I welcome an email back. Remember that this is subscription only. You can share it with a colleague who can also subscribe here.
What’s in this Truth?
It is impossible to provide an honest assessment of the abortion pill without invoking a factual accounting of the political machinations at play. This Truth contains a fact-based framing that identifies actors’ political affiliations because, well, it’s the truth. We fully acknowledge that the forces behind the abortion pill are demonic and that we don’t wage war against flesh and blood. But the human actors on both sides—and in the swishy middle—matter.
I borrowed from Ben Johnson’s excellent piece at The Washington Stand. There has been a lot written about this recent judicial win, but his piece is exceptional.
The Most Recent Judicial Ruling
Maybe you’ve heard of the recent abortion pill victory. Here’s the backstory. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to allow the abortion pill to be offered by mail during the dark and mandatory distancing days of Covid. In December 2021, Biden’s FDA allowed abortion pills to be prescribed online, without so much as a medical visit. Now, in late summer of 2023, the entire camel is under the tent and the abortion pill is responsible for unprecedented destruction. (In case you’ve missed reading “unprecedented” and “Covid” in adjoining sentences.)
The abortion pill accounts for over 50% of all U.S. abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute and every other source I’ve seen. They’re very effectively and efficiently making a killing with these drugs.
But in good news, in a milestone last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the abortion industry may no longer send the abortion pill by mail. Keep reading for what “no longer” really means. Hint: it doesn’t mean “no longer.”
Battles involving life are the eye of the storm, and we’ve been following this Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA case carefully. The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is a group of doctors courageously represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). They seek to hold the FDA accountable for negligently expediting approval of the chemical abortion drug mifepristone, one of the two drugs that are part of the abortion pill regimen.
This decision contained some positive outcomes for those who care about women’s health and believe that every child deserves to be born. Here are the conclusions, adapted from Mr. Johnson:
- Mifepristone is reduced from being approved for dispensation at 10 weeks to 7 weeks. That’s worth mentioning, because all indication by those of us who follow this is that the FDA was laying the groundwork to increase the number of weeks. They may still be.
- Only a physician may prescribe the pill. That’s another win because in Virginia, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives can perform abortions.
- This decision ends the current tele-health abortion model because it requires the patient to have three in-person visits with a doctor to confirm pregnancy, take mifepristone and misoprostol, and a follow-up to check for complications of that abortion which might include an incomplete abortion. This is big, because it requires some modicum of medical care which does not exist with telehealth abortions. The truth is, all of us in this work have heard and seen horror stories of after-effects of the abortion pill upon unwitting patients who had no idea what to expect. I’ll spare you gory details, but we hear them all the time, as recently as this week in Northern Virginia.
However, still missing is an ultrasound. None of this protocol will diagnose or treat an ectopic pregnancy, which can be fatal to the mother. Nor will it tell her how far along she is, which is a critical piece of information in determining medical “appropriateness” for the abortion pill. If anything, reducing the approved gestational age for the abortion pill may incentivize abortionists not to perform an ultrasound so they can hurry up and abort the baby with pills—a baby who may already be too far developed for a “successful” abortion. Never mind what that will do to the woman.
Just a few years ago, a woman had to have an ultrasound in Virginia to have an abortion, but that is no longer our state law.
- Mail-order abortion is ended. At least legal mail order abortion. This is big, but we expect the illegal black market will boom.
- Abortionists must report all adverse events caused by mifepristone. In 2016, the Obama administration said abortionists were no longer required to report any side effects of the abortion pill to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS) except for death of the patient.
We are confident that even those death numbers are under-reported. We hear from our peers in pregnancy centers and others who work hands-on with abortion minded pregnant moms. Abortionists are known to tell women that if they must go to the Emergency Room due to complications of the abortion pill, they should not tell medical professionals that they took the pills. Her symptoms will mimic a miscarriage, so no need to speak up. We’re told they tell women they will get in trouble for taking the pill.
If you really want to know the truth about the gnarly side effects, well documented across many sources, read Ben’s article.
The Impact in Our Community
This spiritual and terrestrial battle for life is massive. We stay focused on our community, where we’re rescuing children by reaching one mom (and dad, if possible) at a time. The impact of this decision will not take effect immediately. It may not take effect at all. This case may go to the Supreme Court. We don’t know yet if Supreme Court Justices will hear the case yet or if they’ll wait for a conflicting ruling from another court.
Since the ruling, Kamala Harris and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, an outspoken enemy of pregnancy centers, have spoken out against the decision. Following the Dobbs decision, the HHS sent guidance to American retail pharmacies to distribute the abortion pill, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision. If they didn’t, they would face discrimination charges against “women and pregnant people.”
As the ADF puts it, “Unfortunately, for now, chemical abortion drugs remain approved and on the market.” They anticipate the case will go to SCOTUS.
In the meantime, our pregnancy medical centers will continue to see women with the same sense of urgency to abort, many of whom are looking for the abortion pill. We pray that we can impact them for life before they make this decision.
A Resurgence of Demonic Activity
The last time SCOTUS heard a major life case, a great deal of demonic activity surfaced in response. Since the Dobbs leak, 88 pregnancy centers and pro-life groups have been attacked. You’ll recall that our Manassas location was one of them.
Supreme Court Justices were high-profile targets. What would you do if you were a Justice and the last time you upheld the constitutional (and Biblical) sanctity of life there was an assassination attempt on your family? What if you found protestors outside of your home, night after night, and your property rights were not respected? By contrast, imagine how difficult it would be if you were a Supreme Court Justice, and you didn’t know what a woman was, and you were expected to make this decision?
How should those of us who are fighting for the unborn and for informed consent for women react? Should we celebrate? This is a win, and we are so grateful to those taking this on at the judicial level. We pray for them, and we invite you to pray as well. But we hope we all stay committed to what victory ultimately looks like and how far we are from an abortion free America.
If the decision stands, rather than being starved and expelled by abortion pill at 10 weeks with little to no medical intervention for the mother, (prayerfully fewer) children will be killed by being suctioned and scraped out of the mother’s womb during an in-clinic aspiration abortion procedure.
It’s important that we maintain our focus and a perspective that honors God. We hope this provides some clarity to the Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling, and we pray the decision leads to brighter days to come. Regardless of what happens next, Life First will remain focused on our vision: that every woman and man struggling with an unplanned pregnancy would come through our doors and be transformed by Christ.