Supreme Court agrees to hear abortion pill battle 

December 13, 2023

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear arguments over the availability of the most commonly-used abortion pill, mifepristone.

In April, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that would have banned the abortion drug nationwide, granting an emergency request at the time by the Biden Administration and mifepristone’s manufacturer Danco Laboratories, both of whom appealed a Texas court’s restricting access to the pill nationwide—even in states where abortion remains legal—while a lawsuit regarding the pill’s FDA approval goes forward.

The Supreme Court Justices—who had ruled 6-3 in 2022 to overturn Roe v Wade and the Constitutional right to abortion—are expected to hear oral arguments early next year with a ruling due by the end of June 2024. 

The pill mifepristone can be used along with another medication, misoprostol, to end a pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone more than 20 years ago. Currently about half of all abortions in the U.S. are medication abortion.

The dispute over the abortion pill before the Court does not directly address any right to abortion, focusing instead on different legal issues regarding the FDA’s process for approving drugs, nor is the FDA’s decision in 2000 to approve mifepristone in the first place at issue. 

However, the case before the Court has raised questions over the Justices’ decision in its 2022 ruling to leave abortion policy to the states and the federal government. 

The Supreme Court will also review 2016 decisions to extend the window in which mifepristone can be used to terminate a pregnancy from seven weeks to 10 weeks, and to reduce the number of in-person visits for patients from three to one.

In 2019, the FDA approved a generic form of the abortion pill, which is made by GenBioPro, but that issue is not before the Supreme Court, either.

According to the Guttmacher Institute’s tracking, 14 states now have total bans against abortion.

PHOTO: Mifepristone abortion pill

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

 

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