A federal judge ruled Monday that women may purchase drugs that produce an abortion at home without an in-person medical examination during the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic.
Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, an Obama appointee, granted a preliminary injunction allowing the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol to be mailed to women who wish to terminate their pregnancies at home as the public health crisis continues.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), other medical groups, and Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective brought a lawsuit against a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule requiring in-person medical assessment prior to dispensing the drugs.
“Where Plaintiffs have established a likely violation of a constitutional right, particularly one that, given the limited timeframe for obtaining a medication abortion, would be permanently lost absent preliminary relief, the Court finds likely irreparable harm,” Chuang wrote in his opinion.
The judge continued that “the preliminary injunction will apply to bar FDA enforcement of the In-Person Requirements,” but added:
The Court, however, will not agree with Plaintiffs’ request that the preliminary injunction extend until “Defendants demonstrate that the pandemic is over” or that travel to health care facilities “no longer pose a significant threat” of COVID-19.
Rather, the Court will impose the preliminary injunction to remain in effect during the pendency of the public health emergency based on COVID-19 declared by the Secretary of HHS pursuant to the Public Health Service Act.
“Today’s federal court decision on mifepristone represents a victory for patients and for dedicated clinicians working to provided [sic] needed care without unnecessary #COVID19 exposure of patients, families, and healthcare team members,” ACOG stated:
BREAKING: Today's federal court decision on mifepristone represents a victory for patients and for dedicated clinicians working to provided needed care without unnecessary #COVID19 exposure of patients, families, and healthcare team members. https://t.co/lBbLiYjGd9 pic.twitter.com/pFMi0uOZ6B
— ACOG Action (@ACOGAction) July 13, 2020
Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson tweeted the rule is “medically unnecessary” and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also claimed the ruling is a “win for people of color”:
More great news. Let's be clear: Medically unnecessary barriers on mifepristone most harm those who already face tremendous obstacles to accessing safe, legal abortion. This ruling is an important step to advance health equity as we continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. https://t.co/cm2GR1vVrD
— Alexis McGill Johnson (@alexismcgill) July 13, 2020
Planned Parenthood also announced its new tele-abortion service during the pandemic, which allows girls and women to obtain drugs to perform at-home abortions.
Johnson called her new tele-abortion service the “silver lining” of the coronavirus crisis.
One Planned Parenthood official in New York state touted that the organization’s new tele-abortion service is so much in demand that one mother began her drug-induced abortion “at home with her children running around behind her.”
Dr. Meera Shah, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, told the Associated Press (AP), “We provided a medication abortion to an EMT while she was sitting in her ambulance. We provided abortion care to a mother who was at home with her children running around behind her.”
Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explained in his videos about various abortion procedures that mifepristone blocks the action of progesterone, which the mother’s body produces to nourish the pregnancy. When progesterone is blocked, the lining of the mother’s uterus deteriorates, and blood and nourishment are cut off to the developing baby, who then dies inside the mother’s womb.
The drug misoprostol (also called Cytotec) then causes contractions and bleeding to expel the baby from the mother’s uterus.
A study published in June 2019 at Franciscan University of Steubenville uncovered the potential dangers of drug-induced abortion.
After three years of research, a team of behavioral neuroscientists found the possibility of significant harmful biological and behavioral effects caused by drug-induced abortion.
“Once again today genuine concern and common-sense FDA regulations for women’s health have been sacrificed in the name of ‘access to abortion,’” said Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, as she reacted to the ruling.
Chemical abortion is much harder on women’s health; studies have shown that women who choose chemical abortion are four times more likely to suffer severe complications than they are as a result of surgical abortion and should therefore have more oversight, not less. A woman who undergoes chemical abortion without having an ultrasound risks the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy which could result in death. It is deeply troubling that a Federal District Judge would make such a decision placing women’s health at much greater risk. No one claiming to champion women should prioritize “access” above health and safety.
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins also said the ruling helps the abortion industry’s profits.
“Making it easier to sell chemical abortion pills does a lot for the abortion industry’s bottom line, but women’s lives and future children are put at risk,” she asserted. “Yet here we are again with a single judge deciding that it’s acceptable to endanger women’s health and lives as well as their present and future children as long as it wasn’t hard to make the sale.”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said “the current FDA regulations are reasonable and necessary to protect women from serious and potentially life-threatening complications of abortion drugs, including intense pain, heavy bleeding, infection, and even death.”
“Research shows as many as five to seven percent of women who undergo chemical abortions will require follow-up surgery,” she continued. “We stand with the Trump administration and encourage our allies to continue fighting this reckless lawsuit which jeopardizes the lives of countless women, as well as their unborn children.”