US Supreme Court again tentatively upholds access to abortion pill

US: Supreme Court again tentatively upholds access to abortion pill

The United States Supreme Court, which was scheduled to rule on the legal conundrum surrounding the fate of the abortion pill in the country on Wednesday, postponed its long-awaited decision by two days, temporarily extending full access to postage stamps until Friday.

Judge Samuel Alito added a chapter to this breathtaking saga, followed by concerns from abortion rights defenders and opponents, pointing out in a succinct text that the Supreme Court’s stay of a lower court’s decision on the pill by 48 years has been extended hours until “11:59 p.m. Friday, April 21”.

“Dangerous and unfounded case”

“The court should put an end to this dangerous and groundless case once and for all,” the civil rights organization ACLU reacted immediately. “People who need an abortion or miscarriage treatment shouldn’t sit around wondering if they have access to the care they need or if the Supreme Court is going to suddenly take it away from them,” she said.

Less than a year after constitutional abortion protections were repealed, the conservative-majority Supreme Court was overturned by the Joe Biden administration after conflicting court rulings.

At stake is access to mifepristone across the territory. In combination with another drug, mifepristone is used for more than half of abortions in the United States. Since it was approved by the American Medicines Agency (FDA) more than twenty years ago, more than five million Americans have taken it.

judge against judge

It all started when a Donald Trump-appointed Texas federal judge, known for his Christian faith and ultra-conservative positions, revoked mifepristone’s marketing authorization on April 7 after it was seized by activists. Despite the scientific consensus, he believed it posed risks to women’s health.

An appeals court appealed to by the federal government then allowed the abortion pill to remain approved, but by restricting access options granted by the FDA over the years. His ruling amounted to banning the shipment of mifepristone and returning to use limited to seven weeks’ gestation instead of ten.

The federal government then rushed to the Supreme Court. The latter temporarily maintained access to the abortion pill on Friday, suspending the appeals court’s decision to allow more time to consider the case.

To make matters worse, a Washington state federal judge appointed by Barack Obama ruled mifepristone was “safe and effective” immediately after his colleague in Texas ruled, barring the FDA from withdrawing the approval in 17 states and in the Capital city.


The first suspension, decided by the Supreme Court, lasted until just before midnight on Wednesday. On Tuesday, a coalition of anti-abortion activists asked the Temple of American Law to uphold the Court of Appeals ruling.

The FDA and the pharmaceutical company Danco, which makes mifepristone, have “continued to put politics before women’s health,” condemning these anti-abortion gynecologists’ and pediatricians’ associations.

“Without a suspensive decision, mifepristone will cause more physical complications, emotional trauma and even death in women,” the doctors argued, affirming that it would also “harm the plaintiffs by forcing them to have abortions against the card, who violate their conscience”. President Biden had ruled that the Texas judge’s decision “(has) completely overstepped the bounds.”

No longer available in fifteen states

The abortion pill is no longer officially available in about fifteen American states that have recently banned abortion, although workarounds have been developed. The effects of restrictions or a ban on this pill would therefore primarily affect states where abortion remains legal – for many Democrats.

Experts and drug industry bosses fear these lawsuits will pave the way for court hearings of other drugs.

“It’s not unrealistic to say that if a judge can wake up in the morning and decide that he wants to take a drug off the market (…) then a judge can do the same for vaccines or antidepressants that he doesn’t like,” said Josh Sharfstein, a former FDA official.