This week, the Supreme Court deferred its decision to Friday, Then, on Friday it ruled that full access to abortion pills containing mifepristone can continue, as a lawsuit in lower federal courts is being heard.
Mifepristone was approved by the FDA in 2000. Since then, the FDA has deregulated its use.
The Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who support abortion and the Biden administration. The Supreme Court could be asked to revisit the issue later this year.
The Supreme Court heard the case brought by pro-life doctors and medical groups who were challenging FDA approval of Mifepristone. This is the very first abortion case to be heard after the Republican majority overturned Roe V. Wade 10 months ago. More than a dozen states can now ban abortions.
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. said in this decision that the legislatures should decide abortion policy, not the courts.
Alito wrote, “It is time to adhere to the Constitution and return the abortion issue to the elected representatives.”
In this case, the issue is not whether or not the FDA approved mifepristone over 20 years ago. Alliance Defending Freedom claims that FDA approved the drug because it was “politically expedient”, and acted unlawfully by removing safeguards around mifepristone.
Danco Laboratories, the Biden administration, and Danco Laboratories, the drug’s maker, counter that FDA expert reviewers have determined repeatedly that mifepristone is effective and safe. Since its approval in 1992 over 5 million women used the drug to terminate pregnancies.
Trump nominated U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk. He issued a controversial ruling siding with pro-life groups. The FDA then failed to approve mifepristone. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his decision in part. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, preserved the restrictions that made the drug available only for a maximum of seven weeks’ supply.
The Justice Department claimed continuing to enforce restrictions against mifepristone in lower courts would cause chaos. In response to an independent suit filed by 17 Democratic States and the District of Columbia in Washington, a federal judge has ordered the FDA to preserve access to mifepristone in accordance with the current rules.
According to the Biden administration, the FDA’s situation is unsustainable due to contradictory rulings.
GenBioPro Inc., a generic abortion pill maker, has filed a lawsuit against the FDA in order to keep the mifepristone product on the market.
The two drugs are taken in combination. The first drug blocks the hormones needed to keep an unborn child alive. The second drug causes cramps and contractions which expel the dead fetus from the mother’s womb.
The drug is 97% effective in terminating early pregnancy, though approximately 3% of women who take it will “require surgical intervention for ongoing pregnancy, heavy bleeding, incomplete expulsion or other reasons such as patient request,” according to the manufacturer.