Supreme Court gives abortion activists a victory

April 22, 2023
Robert Ayers

The U.S. Supreme Court has just placed a hold on the Texas U.S. District Court ruling that would have stopped the sale of the abortion drug mifepristone, CBS News reports

The court released its decision on Friday.

It's worth emphasizing at the outset that his ruling is not a final decision on the merits. Rather, it has to do with whether or not the drug will remain available while litigation plays out.

Because of the court's Friday ruling, it will.


The actual merits of the case have to do with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval, in the year 2000, of the abortion drug mifepristone - one of the most common drugs used to perform a so-called chemical abortion.

Anti-abortion groups and doctors have challenged this approval on the grounds that the approval process was deficient in that it failed to consider certain aspects of the drug's safety - or lack thereof. Accordingly, the pro-lifers are looking to get the approval tossed out.

At the outset of this case, there has been a big battle about what ought to happen while the case takes place: ought the pill to be kept on the market or taken off of the market?

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas has ruled that it ought to be taken off of the market, while litigation plays out.

This decision was subsequently appealed by the administration of President Joe Biden to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The appellate court, in its ruling, allowed the FDA's approval of mifepristone to remain in effect, but, at the same time, it prevented the implementation of changes that the FDA made in 2016 that relaxed the rules for the drug's distribution.

The latest

Still not happy with the 5th Circuit's ruling, the Biden administration took the matter to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court initially stayed Kacsmaryk's decision, while it further considered the matter. On Friday, however, the court released its decision.

CBS News reports:

The Supreme Court on Friday granted a request from the Justice Department to leave in place the Food and Drug Administration's approval of a widely used abortion pill, preserving access to the drug and reinstating a number of steps by the agency that made it easier to obtain while legal proceedings continue.

Both Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito disagreed with the court's decision.

But, the bottom line is that mifepristone will now remain available while litigation over the FDA's approval of it plays out in the lower courts. This case, though, is far from over, and there appears to be a good chance that the Supreme Court will hear the case on its merits at some point in the future.

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