The U.S. Supreme Court ruled to let the abortion pill mifepristone remain on the market in the U.S. while an appeals court considers a case against the 2000 approval of the chemical abortion drug.
The SCOTUS decision halts for the time being a lower court decision that would have suspended the FDA’s approval of mifepristone and permits changes that loosened safety standards since the drug’s approval to remain in force.
The Friday, April 21 full stay in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration is pending the outcome of an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal filing has been fast-tracked, National Review reports, and oral arguments are set for May.
Alliance Defending Freedom sued in November of last year on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a group of pro-life medical organizations and individuals. The plaintiffs are contesting the approval of mifepristone on account of the FDA’s hurried and problematic approval process.
Additionally, the FDA had approved mifepristone by defining pregnancy as an “illness” and with the claim that the drug provides a “meaningful therapeutic benefit.”
Mifepristone is the first pill in the two-drug chemical abortion regimen. It blocks progesterone in the pregnant woman’s system, starving her unborn child of nutrients necessary for survival. Misoprostol is the second drug, and is taken about a day after the first, prompting the mother to go into labor and deliver her deceased child.
Chemical abortion makes up more than half of all the abortions committed in the U.S. and that number continues to grow. Pro-life and pregnancy help advocates continually advocate for the women's safety related to the pills.
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U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued the April 7 decision suspending mifepristone, declaring that the latter changes made by the FDA to safety protocols permitting the drug to be dispensed via telemedicine, by mail, and at retail pharmacies are unlawful. Another judge in Washington state swiftly ruled following Kacsmaryk’s ruling competing with the decision to suspend approval of mifepristone prohibiting the FDA from removing approval.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals restored access to the abortion pill on April 12, the three-judge panel voting 2-1 to put the FDA changes to loosen regulations and made for easier access on hold. The Biden administration appealed April 14 asking for an administrative stay and a stay pending its appeal to the Fifth Circuit.
The Supreme Court gave a five-day administrative stay last Friday, the 14th, allowing time to deliberate, which it then extended another two days on Wednesday of this week.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented from the Court’s 7-2 decision upholding access to the chemical abortion drug while litigation proceeds.
Pregnancy Help News will continue to provide ongoing coverage of the case.