Nearly 70 Congressional Republicans filed an amicus brief on Tuesday urging the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the Biden administration’s attempt to maintain approval for mifepristone, the first drug in the abortion pill regimen.
“Congress delegates power to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve drugs and regulate their safety and efficacy,” the filing reads. “As pro-life elected representatives, Amici are committed to protecting women and girls from the harms of the abortion industry.”
“By approving and deregulating chemical abortion drugs, the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has not followed Congress’ statutorily prescribed drug approval process and has subverted Congress’ critical public policy interests in upholding patient welfare,” it adds. “The FDA’s lawless actions ultimately endanger women and girls seeking chemical abortions.”
Joining the brief were 11 senators, including Pro-Life Caucus Chairwoman Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and 58 members of the House of Representatives, including Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
It comes as media outlets have noted an apparent reluctance by Republican politicians in responding to Friday’s ruling, which effectively invalidated the FDA’s initial approval of mifepristone. It is likely the pill’s fate will reach the Supreme Court as another ruling from Washington affirmed the FDA’s decision.
The Justice Department filed a motion on Monday to temporarily stay the Texas ruling, arguing that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing and that the FDA was reasonable in both its approval and regulation of mifepristone.
“The court’s sweeping nationwide relief was especially unwarranted given the balance of harms: If allowed to take effect, the court’s order would thwart FDA’s scientific judgment and severely harm women, particularly those for whom mifepristone is a medical or practical necessity,” it reads. “This harm would be felt throughout the country, given that mifepristone has lawful uses in every State. The order would undermine healthcare systems and the reliance interests of businesses and medical providers.”
Both DOJ and Republicans made arguments surrounding the Comstock Act and the appropriateness of how the FDA handled the drug. Tuesday’s amicus brief argued that the agency overlooked important reasons for studying the impact of the drug on pediatric patients.
Friday’s ruling has the potential to drastically change the nationwide landscape of access to abortion. In recent years, the pill has constituted half of the abortions in the U.S. and has been seen as a workaround for women seeking abortions in states with more traditional restrictions.