On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the temporary pause on restrictions placed on the abortion pill mifepristone to Friday. This means that a decision about its future will not be made until then.
Justice Samuel Alito who had previously stopped lower court rulings that sought to limit access to this controversial drug wrote that the pause will continue until Friday, 11:59 pm. ET.
The FDA approved Mifepristone in 2000. Its use has since been deregulated. The FDA has increased the availability of abortion pills at pharmacies and by mail under President Biden.
The Biden administration, as well as Danco Laboratories of New York, the manufacturer of the drug, asked the nation’s highest court to refuse limits on the use of mifepristone imposed by lower judiciaries. This request was made at least until the legal case is resolved. Women who want to take the drug, and those who provide it will be in chaos if the limits are implemented.
The Alliance Defending Freedom represents doctors and medical groups who are pro-life. They have challenged the safety of the drug. The Alliance Defending Freedom argues that the FDA approved the drug based on “politics rather than science”. They have asked the court to stop the approval.
The battle over chemical abortions, as they are called by pro-lifers, is less than a month after the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade invalidated federal protections against abortion. Since then, more than a dozen states have taken steps to ban or severely restrict the procedure. Others have tried to create safe havens where women can seek abortions.
After Trump appointed U.S. district judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, issued a highly controversial injunction to stop the FDA’s approval for mifepristone this month. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals partially reversed the order. The order was partially overturned by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeals court preserved restrictions that made the drug available only to be dispensed up to seven weeks, not 10, and not by mail.
Danco and the administration are supported by pharmaceutical companies, medical organizations that have been in existence for many years, former FDA officials, and 250 Democratic members of Congress. Medical groups against abortion, women who claim they have been injured by abortion, and nearly 150 Republican members of Congress, as well as states that are Republican-led, support limits on mifepristone.
Mifepristone is taken with misoprostol in a two-drug regimen that first blocks hormones needed to keep an unborn baby alive and then causes cramps and contractions to expel the dead fetus from the mother’s womb.
Danco reports that more than 5 million U.S. women have aborted their pregnancies using Mifeprex since its approval in 2000. The drug is 97% efficient in terminating early pregnancies, but approximately 3% will require surgical intervention due to ongoing pregnancy, heavy blood loss, incomplete expulsion, or other reasons, such as the patient’s request, according to its manufacturer.