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Abortion, contraceptive access among Alliance Defending Freedom's lawsuits


Abortion, contraceptive access among Alliance Defending Freedom's lawsuits

Dec 08, 2023 | 12:29 pm ET
By Sofia Resnick
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, a key abortion drug, 23 years ago, and experts say it has been found to be safe, a claim a group of anti-abortion groups and four doctors challenge in seeking revocation of its federal approval. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, a key abortion drug, 23 years ago, and experts say it has been found to be safe, a claim a group of anti-abortion groups and four doctors challenge in seeking revocation of its federal approval. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Nearly a dozen of Alliance Defending Freedom’s ongoing lawsuits involve abortion and contraceptive access. Here is a look at those cases.

  • Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ADF represents anti-abortion activist medical groups (three states have recently filed motions to intervene in the case) and is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to order the FDA to revoke its drug approval and subsequent decisions around the abortion drug mifepristone. This drug has a proven safety record for abortions and miscarriages, but based on research that is currently under investigation, ADF has argued the medication is unsafe. Offering  hypotheticals and anecdotes from anti-abortion doctors, ADF’s attorneys have also argued that doctors who oppose abortion could be forced to give emergency care to patients who took mifepristone, requiring them to participate in a medication abortion. 

  • Idaho v. United States. ADF is involved in one of two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term that challenges the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires emergency medical providers to give stabilizing medical treatment to patients that might result in the termination of their pregnancies. ADF and another law firm asked the Supreme Court in November to intervene in Idaho’s case and allow the state’s full abortion ban to go into effect, subjecting emergency room physicians to criminal penalties under the law. ADF attorneys contend that physicians who are anti-abortion could be forced to participate in abortions that go against their religious beliefs, though Idaho healthcare professionals have not publicly expressed concern over that possibility. 

  • Texas v. Xavier Becerra. The case challenges EMTALA on behalf of Texas, currently under consideration at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. ADF, which represents the state, argues that requiring emergency rooms to treat pregnancy emergencies will “turn ERs into abortion facilities.”

  • Paul Isaacson v. Kristin Mayes. This case involves a 2021 Arizona law that banned pregnancy termination if the reason was because of a poor fetal health diagnosis. The law is currently in effect after it was blocked and then revived once Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, though abortion in all other instances remains legal through 15 weeks’ gestation. Arizona Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes has vowed not to defend or enforce the law; however, doctors have said they have been refusing to terminate pregnancies that might not be viable or that could result in severe disabilities. ADF is representing state Republican leaders to defend what the law firm has framed as a case to “protect Arizona babies from eugenic practices.” 

  • Andrea Anderson v. Aitkin Pharmacy Services, LLC. ADF is representing Minnesota pharmacist George Badeaux, whom Andrea Anderson sued in 2019 after he refused to sell her emergency contraception because of his religious beliefs. Last year a jury found that Badeaux did not discriminate against Anderson, but her lawyers have appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

  • Paige Casey v. MinuteClinic Diagnostic of Virginia, LLC. ADF represented a nurse practitioner in Virginia who last year sued CVS Health, the parent company of MinuteClinic, which she said fired her for refusing to dispense certain contraceptives, which ADF falsely called abortifacients. The case was settled out of court in October, according to online court records.

  • Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ADF is representing Mayo Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy and Catholic gift shop in Bismarck, North Dakota, in its joint lawsuit against a federal health policy that requires pharmacies that serve Medicaid and Medicare patients to stock and dispense abortion drugs. ADF says the clinic is suing because the pharmacy mandate conflicts with the owner’s religious beliefs

  • Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland v. Myron Kreidler. ADF is handling a church’s appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving a 2018 Washington state law that requires most Washington employers to provide abortion coverage for employees.  

  • National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Charity Clark. ADF is representing a national network of anti-abortion centers and two Vermont centers in a lawsuit against a state law that prohibits misleading advertising.

  • NIFLA v. Mario Treto Jr. Anti-abortion pregnancy centers in Illinois are challenging a 2016 state law that stipulates that if a health care provider refuses to provide care because of a conscience-based objection, they still have to provide patients with information to access the care elsewhere. 

  • Obria Group Inc. v. Robert Ferguson. The attorney general in Washington state recently opened an investigation into the Obria Group, a national network of pregnancy centers, over potential state violations related to how the centers communicate medical information and handle patient data. ADF is representing the Obria Group in a lawsuit claiming the investigation is politically motivated and based on bias against the group’s anti-abortion beliefs.   

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