Federal judges block Biden FDA from allowing abortion pills to be sent through the mail – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) – In a win for prenatal rights and patient safety, judges from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)’s decision to allow abortion pills to be distributed by mail in violation of federal law.

In December 2021, the Biden administration FDA eliminated its requirement that abortion pills be dispensed in person, allowing pharmacists to instead send them through the mail as long as the recipient has a prescription. 

In January 2023, the Biden Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) justified the policy by issuing a legal opinion claiming a provision of a 150-year-old law called the Comstock Act that makes it illegal for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver any “article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to leads another to use or apply it for producing abortion” did not mean what it says, and that abortion pills may be freely mailed as long as the sender does not intend for the recipient to use them unlawfully.

Representing a handful of doctors and groups including Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sued, securing in April a suspensiont of the policy from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division. 

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The ‘Garland 9’ Pro-Life Rescuers are threatened with 11-year prison sentences, an additional three years of supervised watch and $350,000 in fines each because they tried to save babies from abortion.

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists. Save the Garland 9!

Nine pro-lifers who were unjustly arrested in October 2020 at the notorious Washington Surgi-Clinic are facing over a decade each in jail.

Nicknamed the ‘Garland 9’ after President Biden’s notorious Attorney General, Merrick Garland, the rescuers are being treated like criminals for simply trying to save lives.

So far the conditions of their indictment, the judge’s comments and a prejudicial jury selection seem to indicate the nine are going to be made examples of in a show trial that started August 6th, 2023. 

One of the pro-life defendants, Lauren Handy, said: “Media reports have stated that we ‘invaded’ the abortion center and ‘disrupted’ women from exercising their ‘reproductive rights.’ No, that is not what we did. We entered the clinic and sought to love the women already there for their abortion procedures. We tried to offer them help so they would choose life. We non-violently defended the unborn who were about to be exterminated – the innocent, the most vulnerable, killed in horrific acts of violence and treated as so much trash.”

SIGN: Merrick Garland must stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists

 Joe Biden’s rogue Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Gestapo-esque FBI have raided and arrested the legendary Joan Andrews Bell and eight other pro-lifers (Lauren Handy, 28; Jonathan Darnel, 40; Jay Smith, 32; Paulette Harlow, 73; Jean Marshall, 72; John Hinshaw, 67; Heather Idoni, 57; and William Goodman, 52) charging them with “conspiracy against rights” and “FACE Act” offenses after they tried to rescue babies from death at the prominent D.C. late-term abortion mill, Washing-Surgi Clinic.

“This unprecedented attack on rescuers by the federal government, including terrorizing raids and potentially draconian prison sentences, has not been seen in this country since the enforcement of the immoral Fugitive Slave Act,” Handy said.  

A federal Grand Jury handed down the indictment, including Federal Civil Rights Conspiracy charges.

This is the latest in a wave of state-sponsored persecution of pro-life activists. If these loving counsellors can be apphedended as felons, so too might parents be at school board meetings, as well as other peaceful protesters, and those who support life, family, faith, and freedom.

Among other violations of their human rights and the bypassing of jurisprudence, the Garland 9 are prohibited from mentioning the word ”abortion” during the trial, denied the right to provided character witnesses and expert witnesses, and cannot even address this misapplication of the law during their trial. 

If we ignore the battle of the Garland 9, other ordinary people will also be labelled criminal conspiracists by corrupt law enforcement and the courts. If we do not succeed in fighting these dangerous precedents now, we may not have many future opportunities left to fight at all.

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists

Handy also stated: “Sadly, this arm of the government under the current administration is being used as a weapon against the ‘most vulnerable members of our society’ — the pre-born babies.” 

Since the 1994 passing of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the law has ignored virtually all attacks on churches and pro-life facilities to focus solely on presumed attacks on abortion facilities and personnel.

Recently, while disregarding other serious incidents against conservatives, the DOJ has used the law as a Stasi-like hammer since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade to target pro-lifers.

SIGN: Help stop the DOJ from using the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act to silence Pro-Life advocates, while ignoring pro-abortion terrorism

Why are loyal law-abiding American Catholics being surveilled at church by the FBI? The Biden regime is undemocratically cracking down on its political and ideological opponents and violating their rights. 

Another defendant, Will Goodman, told LifeSite: “Peaceful pro-lifers committed to non-violent direct action in the American tradition of civil disobedience are being treated like ‘enemies of the state’ and are being refused any legal opportunities to advocate for the constitutional civil rights of the preborn humans in the womb.”

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta recently said that overturning Roe (Dobbs) made it more ”urgent” to target pro-lifers, remarks that conservatives are taking as an admission that the DOJ has been intentionally targeting pro-lifers instead of impartially upholding the law.

Gupta listed among new and “insidious” challenges to “civil and constitutional rights” the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists. Save the Garland 9! 

Arrested veteran Pro-Life Rescuer Lauren Handy (28), who organized the rescue, told LifeSiteNews at the time that “we are no longer having a debate with evil but confronting it head on — today we are using our bodies as shields to protect our pre-born siblings from abortion.”

The Biden administration is by-passing local law enforcement, State’s rights and misusing the Federal Courts and FBI to make all pro-life activity effectively illegal.

Dr. Monica Miller, the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and leader of Red Rose Rescue, told LifeSiteNews that “as a consequence, warrants were immediately issued, and eight of the nine pro-lifers were rounded up in an FBI raid of their homes and places of work.” Miller noted that “this is the first time any of them face federal charges. That FBI agents hunted down the rescuers is unprecedented in the history of pro-life activism.”

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists

The FACE Act (18 U.S.C. § 248(a)(3)) prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.” It also is supposed to protect places of worship and facilities where reproductive health is not a euphamism for murder, but it does not.

The law has never been evenly applied, and is predicated on the lie that the Pro-Life movement is inherently violent, while ignoring actual increasing violence against places of worship and pro-life pregnancy help centers.

Thomas More Society senior trial counsel Martin A. Cannon told The Epoch Times that while the FACE Act violation “under the circumstances charged is a misdemeanor,” the conspiracy charge, if proven, “is a felony.”

According to Cannon, that’s “a lot of overcharging.”

“There’s another federal conspiracy statute they could have charged under that makes the conspiracy no worse than the underlying charge,” he said. “But if you’re pro-lifers, you don’t get that kind of prosecutorial consideration all the time. They just dogpile on you when they can.”

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists – Help save your nation from tyranny and persecution

This vaguely worded FACE Act, which many legal experts regard as unconstitutional, was also weaponized to falsely, viciously, and unjustly arrest Mark Houck at his home.

Houck, who has since been vindicated, was threatened with the exact same draconian punishments of the Garland 9, having been apprehended by the FBI at his home in a manner that terrorized, his wife, seven children, and other pro-lifers.

No less than 25 FBI officers were present to arrest Houck, despite an offer by Houck to turn himself in. This is just another example of this police-state abuse, and why it needs to end now!

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists

This weaponization of our courts and the FBI requires Congressional oversight (or the defunding and disbanding of this rogue law-enforcement agency) to bring these abuses to a halt. There needs to be checks on an administration that, operating like a banana republic, seeks to criminalize its opposition.

Beyond the attack on the pro-life activists, these unjust legal measures ignore the rights of the preborn, the coercive nature of the eugenic abortion industry, and they further restrict merciful and charitable options that can help so many in need.

The so-called “clinic” which the the Garland 9 were accused of blocking was notorious for performing late-term abortions – a brutal form of murder visited on the innocent.

These are not medical procedures, but inhuman, cruel perversions of the law. The false narratives around a mythical rise in violent anti-abortionists obscures the reality of the murder the Biden administration is covering up.

SIGN: Tell Merrick Garland to stop the DOJ’s persecution of pro-life activists

Our society needs pregnancy resource centers to help protect women and their babies. President John Adams had warned us that our Republic necessitates a religious and moral citizenry. When the state threatens draconian prison sentences, crippling fines, and surveillance for good-willed, ethical people seeking to help their neighbors, it is time to push back.

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Potential jurors in DC trial of pro-lifers admit to being Planned Parenthood donors, abortion activists – LifeSiteNews

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On Wednesday, a 5th Circuit panel ruled unanimously in favor of ADF and against the FDA on the key questions of the case while vacating other aspects of the Texas statute of limitations and lack of injury to plaintiffs and stressing that the Supreme Court will ultimately have the final say.

“We conclude that the Medical Organizations and Doctors’ claim as to the 2000 Approval is likely barred by the statute of limitations,” the panel ruled. “Accordingly, that component of the district court’s order must be VACATED. This means that, until final judgment, Mifeprex will remain available to the public under the conditions for use that existed in 2016.”

“We also VACATE the portion of the order relating to the 2019 Generic Approval because the Medical Organizations and Doctors have not shown that they are injured by that particular action,” it continued. “The generic version of mifepristone will also be available under the same conditions as Mifeprex.”

“However the court “AFFIRM[S] the components of the stay order that concern the 2016 Amendments and the 2021 Non-Enforcement Decision. Those agency actions — which generally loosen the protections and regulations relating to the use of mifepristone — will be stayed during the pendency of this litigation.”

That last provision means abortion pills can no longer be sent through the mail at least for the duration of the case, and that the cutoff point for taking abortion pills is moved back from 10 weeks’ gestation to seven weeks, along with the restoration of other conditions, including in-person office visits, prohibition of prescriptions by non-physicians, and mandatory reporting of non-fatal adverse events.

At one point, the panel noted that the agency tasked with ensuring drug safety effectively exploited its own bad precedent of eliminating the reporting requirement to justify its 2021 move: “it’s unreasonable for an agency to eliminate the reporting requirement for a thing and then use the resulting absence of data to support its decision.”

ADF is celebrating the ruling as a victory.

“The 5th Circuit rightly required the FDA to do its job and restore crucial safeguards for women and girls, including ending illegal mail-order abortions,” ADF senior counsel Erin Hawley said. “The FDA will finally be made to account for the damage it has caused to the health of countless women and girls and the rule of law by unlawfully removing every meaningful safeguard from the chemical abortion drug regimen.

“The FDA’s unprecedented and unlawful actions did not reflect scientific judgment but rather revealed politically driven decisions to push a dangerous drug regimen without regard to women’s health or the rule of law. This is a significant victory for the doctors and medical associations we represent and, more importantly, the health and safety of women.”

Evidence shows that abortion pills carry specific risks for the mothers who take them (on top of being lethal to their preborn children), especially when the standards for taking them continue to be relaxed.

A 2020 open letter from a coalition of pro-life groups to then-FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn noted that the FDA’s own adverse reporting system says the “abortion pill has resulted in over 4,000 reported adverse events since 2000, including 24 maternal deaths. Adverse events are notoriously underreported to the FDA, and as of 2016, the FDA only requires abortion pill manufacturers to report maternal deaths.”

Pro-lifers warn that with the Biden administration completely eliminating requirements that abortion pills be taken under any medical supervision or with medical support close by, those events are certain to increase. 

“A November 2021 study by Charlotte Lozier Institute scholars appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology,” wrotes Catholic University of America research associate Michael New. “They analyzed state Medicaid data of over 400,000 abortions from 17 states that fund elective abortions through their Medicaid programs. They found that the rate of abortion-pill-related emergency-room visits increased over 500 percent from 2002 through 2015. The rate of emergency-room visits for surgical abortions also increased during the same time period, but by a much smaller margin.’”

Yet the White House and the abortion lobby have determined that, with the overturn of Roe v. Wade last year allowing states to directly ban abortion, easy distribution of abortion pills across state lines is one of their most potent tactics for preserving abortion “access.” In November 2022, Operation Rescue reported that a net decrease of 36 abortion facilities in 2022 led to the lowest number in almost 50 years, yet the chemical abortion business “surged” with 64% of new facilities built last year specializing in dispensing mifepristone and misoprostol.

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