The Supreme Court issued a temporary ruling directing full access to the abortion drug mifepristone Friday evening.
The sale of mifepristone will continue in the United States without restrictions as the case continues to work its way through the lower federal courts.
The plaintiffs in the case, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of multiple clients, argue that the FDA has been putting pregnant mothers in increasingly dangerous situations since 2000 as safeguard after safeguard surrounding chemical abortion has been eradicated.
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The ruling was originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 19, but at the last minute the justices extended their deadline to Friday, April 21. According to the progressive SCOTUS Blog, an independent news and analysis source, this was a highly unusual move and suggested “exchanges were ongoing between the justices.”
As reported by CatholicVote,
Federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas on Friday, April 7 stayed the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone – a drug used in about half of all abortions. That same day, another federal judge ruled that officials must allow prescriptions for the drug to continue in certain states.
The contradictory rulings have set the stage for ongoing court battles that may culminate in a Supreme Court case to decide the matter.
The Biden administration immediately appealed the Texas ruling. On April 12, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court upheld certain aspects of the Texas ruling pending oral arguments in the case.
According to the New York Times, “a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, based in New Orleans, announced that mifepristone could remain legal and available while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts.”
The 5th Circuit did, however, temporarily reinstate limited safety regulations on the use of mifepristone that the FDA had removed in 2016. These include:
The 5th Circuit’s ruling details the timeline of the drug, from its highly politicized and rushed approval process to the FDA’s 2021 expressed “commitment to mail-order abortion drugs.”
The Biden administration again intervened and appealed to the Supreme Court to remove all such restrictions from the abortion drug as the case makes its way through the appeals process. Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., issued a stay in the case that expired on Wednesday, April 19.
Not only is Biden exhausting all legal means to protest the ruling, but top officials and allies are also making public statements suggesting the administration is willing to work outside the rule of law in order to keep the abortion pill widely available.
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According to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, over half of all abortions in the United States today are induced “medically” (e.g. with mifepristone).
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