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Constitutional Rights and the Public’s Health

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. Hahn


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. Hahn (U.S. District Court of Maryland, July 13, 2020): The court required the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to temporarily suspend enforcement of a restriction on medication used to terminate early pregnancies or manage miscarriages. Along with obtaining an in-person signature, the restriction requires a healthcare provider to dispense the medication in person. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, plaintiffs claimed that the in-person distribution requirement infringes on their constitutional right to an abortion and due process rights. The court determined this restriction may create an “undue burden” and a significant hardship for those seeking the medication, especially in light of the limited timeframe during which the medication must be taken. As a result, some patients would be forced to decide between delaying treatment or declining abortion care to avoid risking exposure to COVID-19. The court’s ruling will instead allow the medication to be mailed or delivered directly to patients. Read the full opinion here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – September 14, 2020.

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