The Supreme Court decided on Friday to preserve access to the abortion pill mifepristone while the appeal against the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the drug is pending in court.
Both the Biden Administration and the drug's manufacturer, Danco Laboratories, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court to continue supplying the pill. The Court, however, did not rule on the merits of the case, which will have to continue its proceedings in other courts where litigation is pending.
Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the FDA failed to adequately review safety issues associated with the drug when it approved it in 2000. This ruling would have ended access to the most common method of abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. However, the Biden Administration immediately appealed this court decision and the abortion pill continued to be marketed.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to allow the drug to be accessed with some restrictions, such as stopping distribution by mail and allowing it to be prescribed to women up to seven weeks pregnant. Friday's Supreme Court decision ended those restrictions.
The Supreme Court's decision was reached by a 7-2 vote, with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas voting against it. The White House applauded the Supreme Court's decision and vowed to continue to fight restrictions on the abortion pill that are still pending in other courts. The medical associations that were against the administration of this chemical abortion drug assure they will pursue their lawsuit against the FDA.
BREAKING: SCOTUS has paused an appeals court decision that would have restored critical safeguards to chemical abortion drugs while our lawsuit against the @US_FDA proceeds.
As this case continues in the appeals court, we look forward to a final outcome that will hold the FDA…
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) April 21, 2023
Mifepristone is one of two drugs used in a kind of abortion cocktail that women can use to terminate a pregnancy with a pill. The other, misoprostol, is still available by traditional prescription.