Supreme Court Temporarily Lifts Abortion Pill Restrictions: What This Means for Reproductive Rights and Healthcare”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday temporarily blocked lower court rulings that imposed tighter restrictions on the abortion pill mifepristone.
U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. Northern District of Texas suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone last week.
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked that part of Kacsmaryk’s order and kept the FDA approval in place. But the appeals court temporarily re-imposed tighter restrictions on how mifepristone is used and distributed, which would make it more difficult for women to access the drug.
Alito blocked those rulings restricting mifepristone access until 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday. The Alliance Defending Freedom and the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the antiabortion groups who sued the FDA, are required to file their response by noon ET Tuesday.
The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, will next decide whether to keep mifepristone more broadly available as the Biden administration’s appeal plays out. But the court could also vote to put the limits back in place as the appeal is resolved.
The U.S. government told the Supreme Court that abiding by the 5th Circuit restrictions would put it in violation of the Washington state district court order
The Justice Department said Texas and appeals court rulings would make all doses of mifepristone on the market misbranded because their labeling wouldn’t be consistent with the 2000 FDA approval. The government said it would take months to readjust the labeling, which would deny women access to drugs that the FDA approved as a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortion.
The direct consequence of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling is that FDA must effectuate a series of extensive approvals to implement the Fifth Circuit’s rollback. Without those approvals, Danco cannot legally market and distribute mifepristone, wrote Jessica Ellsworth, the company’s attorney.