Supreme Court Rules to Keep Access to Widely Used Abortion Pill
Written by A.M. Ray aka Jamm on April 24, 2023
On Friday, the Supreme Court made a decision that will allow continued access to the abortion pill, Mifepristone. This decision temporarily blocks sweeping restrictions ordered by lower courts, which could have made it much harder for women to obtain the drug.
Mifepristone has become the most common method of abortion in the United States, and the FDA has enacted several policies since 2016 to make the drug more accessible. These policies include telemedicine prescription, mail delivery, retail pharmacy dispensing, and the approval of a generic version of the drug.
However, a Texas-based judge and a federal appeals court had ruled to suspend these policies, as well as to scale back the federally approved use of the drug from 10 weeks of pregnancy to seven weeks, before many patients even know they are pregnant. This would have severely limited access to the abortion pill for many women.
The Supreme Court’s order on Friday keeps these lower court rulings blocked until the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the merits of the dispute. This means that access to mifepristone will likely remain in place through the fall and possibly into next year.
The decision was not unanimous, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting. While Thomas did not offer an explanation for his dissent, Alito wrote a four-page opinion detailing his reasons for opposing a stay. His arguments echoed those made by anti-abortion challengers in the case.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday is only temporary and the legal battle over the abortion pill could continue for months or even years. However, for the time being, access to mifepristone will remain at current levels, which is a relief for many women who rely on the drug for safe and effective abortions.