The highest court in America has protected the right of women to access an abortion pill - for the time being.
Justices at the Supreme Court blocked lower court orders that would have taken the drug Mifepristone off the market. The 7-2 court ruling is the latest development in the case considering whether the drug was validly approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A legal battle over access to the medication has been continuing between anti-abortion groups and doctors. The case has been brought by the pro-life Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, which is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in court.
ADF’s Senior Counsel said :
“As is common practice, the Supreme Court has decided to maintain the status quo that existed prior to our lawsuit while our challenge to the FDA’s illegal approval of chemical abortion drugs and its removal of critical safeguards for those drugs moves forward. Our case seeking to put women’s health above politics continues on an expedited basis in the lower courts. The FDA must answer for the damage it has caused to the health of countless women and girls and the rule of law by failing to study how dangerous the chemical abortion drug regimen is and unlawfully removing every meaningful safeguard, even allowing for mail-order abortions. We look forward to a final outcome in this case that will hold the FDA accountable.”
Mifepristone was approved for use by the FDA in 2000, but regulations have since fluctuated. The current rules allow a person to receive the drug in person or through the post and there is no requirement for the woman to be seen by a doctor in person before receiving it.
The lawsuit argues that the FDA’s failure to follow protocol has caused many safety and health concerns to go unaddressed.
Pro-life and Catholic organisations are supporting the legal action, but US President Joe Biden has praised the Court’s decision saying he stands by the FDA’s approval of the drug :
“"As a result of the Supreme Court's stay, Mifepristone remains available and approved for safe and effective use while we continue this fight in the courts.
"The stakes could not be higher for women across America. I will continue to fight politically driven attacks on women's health.”
The case is ongoing, meaning ‘Mifepristone’ could still be restricted or banned at a later stage.