The Supreme Court has extended its deadline to Friday for the case surrounding the approval of mifepristone, a drug used for medication abortions, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The court’s decision has halted a lower-court ruling that would have limited access to the drug. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by anti-abortion groups claiming that the FDA did not follow proper protocols when it approved the drug in 2000 and that it ignored dangers of the drug in the years since. The FDA has argued that the drug is safe and has been properly approved for over 20 years. The Biden administration has sought emergency relief to maintain access to the drug, which is used in a two-drug regimen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks progesterone, a hormone that allows a pregnancy to develop, and the second, misoprostol, taken one or two days later, prompts contractions and helps the uterus expel its contents. The case has sparked political and legal battles, particularly in conservative states where lawmakers have sought to restrict access to medication abortions. The Supreme Court’s decision to extend the deadline suggests that there may be disagreement among the justices in its first major case about abortion access since a conservative majority in June upended the constitutional right to an abortion. The outcome of the case could have sweeping consequences not only for abortion access but also for the broader pharmaceutical industry.
Court Delays Ruling Limiting Abortion Pill Access