Future access to Mifepristone, an abortion pill now used in more than half of the abortions in the U.S., rests in the hands of the Supreme Court. The Court extended a pause on Wednesday, giving the justices more time to consider the drug’s availability.
Mifepristone remains available to American child-birthing patients – until an ultimate ruling on the drug is scheduled for Friday evening.
The Supreme Court is weighing a Biden Administration emergency application to maintain the FDA approval of the drug. The court retains the same 6-3 conservative-leaning ideological balance as the court that struck down Roe v. Wade in 2022.
The court’s decision will reveal whether the conservative majority places more value on state’s rights or abortion restrictions.
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Mifepristone received FDA approval in 2000. A group of anti-abortion medical organizations challenged the approval in Texas. Texas federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, suspended the 23-year-old FDA approval.
FDA approval is subjected to a six-year statute of limitations.
The drug’s access has been considered by several federal courts since. A Louisiana-based federal court decided to keep the pill accessible – but only to patients with an in-person prescription.
Justice Samuel Alito paused the court’s ruling on the FDA approval earlier this week. The pause is set to vacate by Wednesday at midnight.
The Supreme Court ruled against broad abortion access in 2022, saying that “the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Mifepristone is typically used in the first ten weeks of pregnancy. The pill blocks progesterone, a hormone needed to carry out a pregnancy. Mifepristone has the highest efficacy rate of any abortion pills tested on the market in the US.
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