A decision by the United States Supreme Court relaxed chemical abortion drug regulations to continue will put the “health of women and girls at risk,” according to the U.S. bishops.

On the Thursday, a 9-0 decision was made in the FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine case, which had aimed to roll back access to mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in medication abortions.

In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug application for mifepristone tablets marketed under the brand name Mifeprex for use in performing abortions for up to seven weeks.

To help ensure that Mifeprex would be used safely and effectively, FDA placed additional restrictions on the drug’s use and distribution, for example requiring doctors to prescribe or to supervise prescription of Mifeprex, and requiring patients to have three in-person visits with the doctor to receive the drug.

In 2021, FDA announced that it would no longer enforce the initial in-person visit requirement.

After this, four pro-life medical associations and several individual doctors moved for a preliminary injunction that would require FDA either to rescind approval of mifepristone or to rescind FDA’s 2016 and 2021 regulatory actions.

The District Court agreed with the plaintiffs and in effect enjoined FDA’s approval of mifepristone, thereby ordering mifepristone off the market. The FDA appealed, which eventually led to the Supreme Court.

The Court ruled that the doctors and medical organizations who sued lacked standing in the case.

“Today’s Court ruling on procedural grounds will continue to put the health of women and girls at risk,” said Chieko Noguchi, executive director of public affairs, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“As the USCCB’s pro-life chairman has said, abortion is not health care. The Church will continue to advocate for women’s health and safety, and to lovingly serve mothers in need,” Noguchi added on Thursday.

After the ruling, the Texas Alliance for Life issued a statement noting that chemical abortion drugs have been shown to have a significantly higher complication rate than surgical abortion, and a 2009 peer-reviewed study from Finland published by the ACOG in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that chemical abortions have a 20 percent complication rate, four times greater than surgical abortions.

The pro-life group said without the in-person physician visit requirement, allowing a doctor to confirm gestational age, whether the patient is Rh-negative, and whether or not the pregnancy is ectopic, women and girls are at risk of increased complications, including the potential loss of fertility, hemorrhaging, and even death.

The FDA removed adverse reaction reporting requirements, removing the ability to track women and girls in our country harmed by the chemical abortion drug regimen and any increase in those reactions since the relaxed regulations were instated.

However, the Supreme Court case has no effect in Texas because state law completely protects unborn children from abortion by both surgical and chemical methods after the Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022.

“We are disappointed by the opinion released today by the Supreme Court allowing dangerously lax chemical abortion drug regulations to stand at the expense of the health, lives, and future fertility of women and girls in our country,” said Amy O’Donnell, the Communications Director of the Texas Alliance for Life.

“It’s important to note that the opinion should not be misconstrued as saying the relaxed FDA distribution regulations are safe. Despite the outcome of the case, this does not mark the end of our and others’ efforts to protect women and girls from the harms of chemical abortion drugs, especially when distributed irresponsibly,” she added.