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NY AG slapped with counter lawsuit for censorship of pro-life pregnancy centers

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Abortion Pills

A lawsuit was filed against Democratic Attorney General Letitia James this week by two pregnancy centers and a pro-life nonprofit. The suit alleges James illegally attempted to censor speech about the abortion reversal pill.

James filed her own lawsuit against 11 pregnancy centers in May, alleging that they were spreading “misleading” information to pregnant women about progesterone, which is a supplement that has been used as a way to reverse the effects of a chemical abortion.

In response, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Gianna’s House and Options Care Center filed a retaliatory suit, arguing that James was abusing her power to “censor” pro-lifers’ speech by stopping them from discussing the abortion reversal pill with women, calling the effort “unconstitutional,” according to the complaint. 

“Having cited some of these studies in her lawsuit against other pro-life pregnancy centers in state court, the Attorney General knows full well that the contested statements about progesterone treatment are supported by research but has targeted centers that tell women about this option because of the centers’ pro-life viewpoint and the content of their speech,” the lawsuit reads.

“Many women regret their abortions, and some seek to stop the effects of chemical abortion drugs before taking the second drug in the abortion drug process. Taking supplemental progesterone at that time can often save their baby’s life,” Gabriella McIntyre, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the plaintiffs, said in a press release.

“The New York attorney general, however, is doing everything she can to deny women the freedom to make that choice. Women should have the option to reconsider going through with an abortion, and the pro-life pregnancy centers we represent in this case truthfully inform them about that choice. We are urging the court to affirm the pregnancy centers’ freedom to tell interested women about this lawful, life-saving treatment.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reports:

Progesterone has been used for decades to prevent miscarriages and pro-life advocates say that the success rate of the pill is between 64-68%. The plaintiffs’ lawsuit argues that contrary to James’ claims, studies have shown that the protocol has been effective and safe for women, with one from 2018 finding that 48% of women who “underwent progesterone treatment within 72 hours after taking mifepristone” were able to have live births.

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Healthcare

Supreme Court rules anti-abortion doctors lack standing to sue FDA

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In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-abortion doctors who challenged the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone lack the standing to sue the federal agency. This ruling preserves the FDA’s existing approval of the drug.

The opinion, authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, emphasized that the plaintiffs presented “several complicated causation theories to connect FDA’s actions to the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries in fact.” However, none of these theories were sufficient to establish Article III standing, which requires a personal stake in the dispute.

National Review reports the lawsuit was filed in November 2022 by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and four pro-life doctors. The plaintiffs claimed that the FDA had no authority to approve the two-pill chemical-abortion regimen under Subpart H, a federal code section allowing expedited approval for drugs treating “serious or life-threatening illnesses.” They argued that pregnancy is not an illness but a normal physiological state.

The plaintiffs also challenged the FDA’s 2016 and 2021 decisions to relax restrictions on mifepristone, such as increasing the gestational age for its use, reducing required office visits, allowing non-doctors to prescribe the pills, and permitting mail delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abortion opponents expressed disappointment with the decision. Erin Hawley, a lawyer with ADF, criticized the FDA for allegedly endangering women by allowing the use of mifepristone without in-person medical supervision. Ingrid Skop from the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Katie Daniel from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America echoed similar sentiments, stressing their concerns about the safety of mail-order abortion drugs.

President Joe Biden, however, applauded the decision, highlighting the ongoing risks to women’s rights to necessary medical treatment in many states.

Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion stated that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a direct injury that would force them to participate in abortion procedures against their conscience. He added that concerns about the potential for increased emergency room visits did not justify legal standing.

Kavanaugh noted that doctors and citizens opposed to FDA regulations should seek changes through legislative and executive branches rather than the courts. This decision aligns with a previous lower court ruling that found the legal challenge was filed too late, beyond the statute of limitations.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, suspending the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. This decision was subsequently overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which restored access to the drug. The Supreme Court’s stay ensured that the drug remained available while legal proceedings continued.

Democratic lawmakers welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley described it as a “major relief & victory for anyone who has ever or will ever need essential medication abortion care.” Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized the challenge as baseless and underscored the safety and effectiveness of chemical-abortion pills. She warned of ongoing efforts by Republicans to impose a nationwide abortion ban and called for continued protection of reproductive freedom.

 

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