MIFEPRISTONE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     18th June 2024        

Context: The US Supreme Court rejected a petition by anti-abortion groups seeking to undo the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a commonly available abortion pill, called mifepristone.


  • About: It is a crucial component of the medical abortion regimen, initiating the process by blocking progesterone, a hormone vital for pregnancy maintenance.
  • Complementing Drug: Following mifepristone, misoprostol is administered to induce uterine contractions, facilitating the expulsion of the pregnancy tissue, similar to a miscarriage.
  • Approval by: FDA in 2000 for pregnancies up to 10 weeks, mifepristone has since been utilized by over six million individuals for abortion purposes, representing a significant portion of abortions in the US.

oSince FDA approval in 2000, mifepristone has a mortality rate of 0.0005%, comparable to common pain relievers.

  • Timing: It can be initiated soon after pregnancy confirmation and within 70 days of the last menstrual period.
  • Safety and Research Findings: Extensive studies affirm mifepristone's safety, with rare incidences of serious complications reported over years of research and widespread use.

Court Rule

  • Supreme Court's Decision Basis: The Supreme Court based its ruling on the "personal stake requirement," requiring plaintiffs to demonstrate a personal interest in the case's outcome.
  • Legal Precedent Explanation: According to a 1982 precedent, plaintiffs must show a distinct and palpable injury connected causally to the challenged action.
  • Lack of Demonstrated Injury: The court found that the doctors and medical associations lacked standing to challenge the FDA's regulation as they failed to show any actual harm resulting from mifepristone's availability.
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