Supreme Court extends access to abortion pill through Friday: Justices continue to block Texas judge’s controversial decision on mifepristone — for now
- Keep Order by Judge Alito moves the deadline to just before midnight Friday
- A federal judge in Texas would have permanently banned mifepristone
- An appeals court overturned the pill ban, but imposed severe restrictions
The Supreme Court extended access to the abortion pill until shortly after midnight Friday.
In an order signed by Judge Samuel Alito on Wednesday, the court indicated it would act by Friday night — but offered no explanation as to why the court would delay a permanent decision.
Justices had set themselves a Wednesday deadline in a fast-moving case from Texas where abortion opponents are seeking to roll back the FDA-approved mifepristone — one of the most popular medical abortion methods in the United States.
The Supreme Court expanded access to the abortion pill through Friday
The case stems from a ruling by US District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmarek earlier this month that would have banned the drug mifepristone, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and accounts for more than half of all medical abortions in the United States. .
The Court of Appeal blocked the pill ban, but severely restricted access, after which the baton was handed over to the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration and New York-based Danco Laboratories, the drug’s maker, want the country’s highest court to reject restrictions on mifepristone use imposed by lower courts, at least as long as the legal case makes its way through the courts.
The generic version of mifepristone makes up two-thirds of the supply in the United States, its manufacturer, GenBioPro Inc., writes. The Las Vegas-based company, in a court filing, underlined the risks of allowing the restrictions to be put in place.
Depending on what the judges decide, that could include requiring women to take a higher dose of the drug than the FDA says is necessary.
The legal battle over abortion comes less than a year after conservative justices overturned Roe. v. Wade and allowed more than a dozen states to completely ban abortion.
The court also said the drug should only be approved for the first seven weeks of pregnancy, although in 2016 the FDA approved its use through 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Complicating the situation, a federal judge in Washington ordered the FDA to maintain access to mifepristone under existing rules in 17 Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia, which filed a separate lawsuit.
The Biden administration said the provisions conflicted and created an intolerable situation for the Food and Drug Administration.
The White House is preparing to act whenever a final ruling is issued.
This is a high priority. “We’re obviously watching this very closely and what decisions — what decisions might come out of this,” White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.
She added, “We are ready for any outcome that the Supreme Court may issue, and we are ready to fight a long legal battle, if necessary.”