Breaking: Unanimous SCOTUS Rejects Challenge to FDA Approval of Abortion Pill

The justices, two years after ending the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion, ruled 9-0 to overturn a lower court’s decision to roll back Food and Drug Administration steps in 2016 and 2021 that eased how the drug, called mifepristone, is prescribed and distributed.


The pill, given FDA regulatory approval in 2000, is used in more than 60% of U.S. abortions.

The court ruled that the plaintiffs behind the lawsuit challenging mifepristone lacked the necessary legal standing to pursue the case, which required that they show they have been harmed in a way that can be traced to the FDA.

Ed Morrissey

Kavanaugh wrote the opinion, and Thomas wrote a concurrence. The main ruling rests on standing; the plaintiffs do not have an "injury in fact" in their case, let alone causation, the justices ruled. It's a complicated but fairly predictable process, and that's why this case always seemed like a long shot. Kavanaugh explains why the novel claim in this suit could create a lot more problems than it solves:

And if we were now to invent a new doctrine of doctor standing, there would be no principled way to cabin such a sweeping doctrinal change to doctors or other healthcare providers. Firefighters could sue to object to relaxed building codes that increase fire risks. Police officers could sue to challenge a government decision to legalize certain activities that are associated with increased crime. Teachers in border states could sue to challenge allegedly lax immigration policies that lead to overcrowded classrooms.

We decline to start the Federal Judiciary down that uncharted path. That path would seemingly not end until virtually every citizen had standing to challenge virtually every government action that they do not like—an approach to standing that this Court has consistently rejected as flatly inconsistent with Article III.

Thomas agreed with all of that and highlighted another issue with standing. 

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