U.S. Supreme Court abortion pill decision: What next?

Washington –

Nothing will change for now. Here’s what the Supreme Court said Friday night about access to widely used abortion drugs.

A lawsuit that began in Texas sought to revoke the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug mifepristone. The Supreme Court disagreed, stating that limitations should be faced.

With appeals unfolding, including possible appeals to the High Court, it is almost certain that access to mifepristone will remain unchanged until at least next year due to the court action.

The new abortion controversy comes less than a year after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing more than a dozen states to effectively ban abortion outright. rice field.

Below are the drugs at issue in the new lawsuit, how the case got to the country’s Supreme Court, and what’s next for the case.

What is Mifepristone?

Mifepristone was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration over 20 years ago. More than 5 million women have used it to safely terminate pregnancies, and more than half of women who terminate pregnancies now rely on the drug, the Department of Justice said.

Over the years, the FDA eased restrictions on the drug’s use, extended its use from 7 to 10 weeks’ gestation, reduced the dose needed to safely terminate a pregnancy, and reduced the drug’s use. No more going to the doctor directly to get it. Make the pills available by mail. The FDA has also approved a generic version of mifepristone. Its manufacturer, Las Vegas-based GenBioPro, says he has two-thirds of the domestic market.

Mifepristone is one of two pills used for medical abortion along with misoprostol. Health care providers say they can only switch to misoprostol if mifepristone is no longer available or is too difficult to obtain. increase.

How was the case started?

Late last year, a lawsuit over mifepristone was filed in Amarillo, Texas. The Alliance Defending Freedom is a conservative Christian legal group representing opponents of the pill who argue that the FDA’s approval of mifepristone is flawed.

Why Amarillo? U.S. District Judge Matthew Kaksmalik, nominated by then-President Donald Trump, is the only district court judge to know that all lawsuits filed in the West Texas city are before his eyes. Guaranteed. Since taking the bench, he has ruled against President Joe Biden’s administration on several other issues, including immigration and LGBTQ protections.

On April 7, Kacsmaryk made a decision to permanently revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, but put the decision on hold for a week to allow an appeal.

Complicating matters, however, is that on the same day Kacsmaryk issued the order, a Washington state court ruled in another lawsuit filed by a liberal state seeking to maintain access to mifepristone. has passed the judgment of A Washington judge appointed by then-President Barack Obama, Spokane-based Thomas O. ordered the FDA to do nothing.

How did the case get to the Supreme Court?

The Biden administration responded by asking the New Orleans-based Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to block Kaksmalik’s ruling from taking effect for the time being.

The Court of Appeals did not do that, but narrowed Kacsmaryk’s decision so that the initial approval of mifepristone in 2000 would not be revoked. And he agreed with his opinion that changes made by the FDA to relax regulations on the prescription and dispensing of this drug should be put on hold. These rules, including expanding when drugs can be taken and allowing delivery of drugs by mail, should be put on hold while the case continues.

The Court of Appeal decided by a 2 to 1 vote. Majority judges Kurt Engelhardt and Andrew Oldham are both Trump’s picks.

The Biden administration and New York-based Danko Laboratories, the maker of mifepristone, have appealed to the Supreme Court, saying it would be confusing to put the Court of Appeals restriction into effect. The Supreme Court issued an order giving it a breather and suggesting action by Wednesday night. However, no decision was made on Wednesday and instead the court granted an extension until just before midnight on Friday. It was not clear why.

The court issued a brief judgment at around 6:30 p.m. in Washington, setting a second self-imposed deadline. His two conservative judges, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they disagreed with the court’s decision, but the other judges declined to comment.

what happens next?

The case is moving fast. The High Court has set rules governing access for the time being so the case can continue to progress in court.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has already announced on May 17 that it will hear arguments in this case within one month. And her panel of three judges in the court will hear the case, but the court has yet to reveal who her three judges will be. The group listens to the discussion and asks questions rather than making decisions from the bench. That way the public will know what they are thinking. Their decision is made privately after oral discussion, and at some point a written decision is issued announcing it.

Both sides will then have the opportunity to appeal, either to all the judges of the Court of Appeals or directly to the Supreme Court. However, the judge will take a break over the summer and will not resume hearing the case until October.

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