The ruling preserves broad access to mifepristone, upholding the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pill.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled to block lower-court rulings that would place restrictions on the pill mifepristone, one of the medications used in half of all abortions in the country, while litigation proceeds.
The decision comes in the wake of an appeal by the US Justice Department and the pill’s manufacturer Danco Laboratories.
US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk had granted a request from anti-abortion plaintiffs on April 7 to temporarily suspend mifepristone’s approval while he weighed a case over whether the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) erred in authorising the medication more than two decades ago.
An anti-abortion rights coalition, called the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, was among the plaintiffs suing the FDA over its mifepristone approval.
Kacsmaryk’s injunction would have effectively removed mifepristone from the US market. But his decision offered seven days for the Biden administration to appeal before the injunction took effect.
The administration’s appeal took the case to New Orlean’s 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 12, which kept mifepristone available but also upheld restrictions from Kacsmaryk’s decision that would have rolled back access to 2016 standards.
Those restrictions included allowing the use of mifepristone only up to seven weeks of pregnancy, rather than 10 weeks, as the FDA has allowed in recent years. It would also require multiple in-person doctor visits and bar mifepristone from being sent through the mail.
This is a breaking news story. More to follow.