Allen G. Breed/File/AP
- A federal appeals court used anti-abortion terminology in decision on abortion pill mifepristone.
- The decision calls a fetus an “unborn child” and refers to the pill as “chemical abortion.”
- The court did not suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, but did re-instate some restrictions.
A federal appeals court co-opted anti-abortion terms in its ruling on the use of the abortion pill mifepristone by calling a fetus an “unborn child” in the court filing.
In its decision published late Wednesday, the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals declined to suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, allowing the drug to be used, with limitations, while the case plays out in court.
In the court filing, the decision referred to a fetus as an “unborn child” — phrasing often used by anti-abortion groups.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says on its website that using a phrase like “unborn child” centers the language on “the future state of a pregnancy,” which it calls “medically inaccurate.” The organization says “embryo” should be used for the eight weeks after a pregnant person’s last period, and “after that point until delivery,” it is called a “fetus.”
The court’s decision also referred to mifepristone as “chemical abortion,” another term refuted by doctors.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says on its website that the phrase “chemical abortion” should not be used because it’s a “biased term designed to make medication abortion sound scarier than the safe, effective medical intervention it is.” The organization said “medical abortion” should be used instead.
The Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision came after the Justice Department filed an emergency motion asking for time for the Biden administration to appeal the ban on mifepristone sales.
But, in a blow to some abortion-rights advocates, the appeals court re-instated certain restrictions on the drug, including requiring an in-person doctor’s visit for abortion pill seekers and preventing it from being sent through the mail.