15.2 C
New York
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Buy now


U.S. Supreme Court upholds temporary access to abortion pill | Court News

The U.S. Supreme Court extended an interim ruling allowing restrictions on access to the abortion drug mifepristone, as anti-abortion groups seek to revoke approval of the drug, which is used in about half of the country’s abortions.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s ruling on Wednesday put the issue on hold for two more days until 11:59 p.m. ET Friday (0359 GMT Saturday).

A previous decision to maintain access to mifepristone was due to expire later on Wednesday.

While the conservative judge’s ruling means patients will continue to be able to receive mifepristone in the short term, it also upholds restrictions imposed by lower courts as litigation over the drug continues.

Anti-abortion groups are seeking to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, granted more than 20 years ago in 2000.

On April 7, Texas District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordered a stay of mifepristone, granting an injunction in an anti-abortion lawsuit while the FDA’s approval is challenged in court.

Kacsmaryk gave President Biden’s administration seven days to respond to the ban before it goes into effect.

The Biden administration quickly appealed. On April 12, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans allowed mifepristone to remain on the market, but reinstated the rules of entry established in 2016.

These standards allow mifepristone to be used only up to seven weeks into pregnancy, rather than the 10 weeks that the FDA subsequently allows.

They also banned the mailing of mifepristone and required patients to visit their doctor in person 3 times before receiving the drug, barriers recently removed by FDA guidelines to simplify access.

The Biden administration has challenged those restrictions and expressed confidence in recent days that the Supreme Court will side with them.

Alito’s decision could raise tensions in the U.S., where Republican efforts to limit abortion have surged after the court decided last June to strike down Roe v Wade, a 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion.

The Supreme Court currently has a six-to-three conservative majority. Alito did not provide an explanation for Wednesday’s extension, but the court is expected to step in soon.

At a White House press briefing ahead of Alito’s announcement, Biden administration press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre assured reporters that the administration considered it a “high priority.”

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” she told reporters. “We are prepared for any outcome the Supreme Court may issue and are prepared to engage in a protracted legal battle if necessary.”

She also reiterated the administration’s commitment to support FDA’s authority: “We will continue to support FDA’s independent expert authority to review, approve and regulate a broad range of prescription drugs.”

Hundreds of pharma and biotech leaders — including Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla — signed an open letter earlier this month warning a Texas court threatened the FDA’s approval of mifepristone The decision could have a chilling effect on “the entire biopharmaceutical industry.”

“Judicial activism won’t stop here,” they wrote. “If courts can overturn drug approvals without considering the science or evidence, or the complexities required to fully review the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, the same outcome as mifepristone could occur with any drug. “

The original April 7 ban on mifepristone coincided with a separate ruling by a Washington state judge affirming that the abortion pill should remain on the market.

The decision stems from a case involving 12 Democratic-led states that are seeking to ease restrictions on mifepristone, arguing they are “particularly troublesome” given the drug’s proven safety.

On Wednesday, pharmaceutical company GenBioPro Inc, which makes the only U.S. generic version of mifepristone, also filed a lawsuit to ensure it can continue selling the abortion pill.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health nonprofit, estimates that drugs such as mifepristone accounted for 53 percent of all abortions performed in the United States as of 2020. That marks a leap from 2017, when only 39 percent of abortions involved drugs, not other forms of abortion intervention.

Mifepristone is also used to help patients manage miscarriages and to treat Cushing’s syndrome, which is caused by an overproduction of the body’s hormone cortisol.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles