The U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision Tuesday reversed a federal judge’s injunction that had blocked FDA rules requiring women to obtain an abortion pill from a doctor in person.
“The question before us is not whether the requirements for dispensing mifepristone impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion as a general matter,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Jan. 12. “The question is instead whether the District Court properly ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift those established requirements because of the court’s own evaluation of the impact of the Covid–19 pandemic.”
“Here as in related contexts concerning government responses to the pandemic, my view is that courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health,’” Roberts said, citing his previous arguments supporting state-imposed regulations on churches during the pandemic.
“In light of those considerations, I do not see a sufficient basis here for the District Court to compel the FDA to alter the regimen for medical abortion,” Roberts continued.
The normal requirement of the Food and Drug Administration, in place since 2000, is that the abortion pill be dispensed and administered in-person. The regulation is part of the protocol reserved for higher-risk drugs and procedures.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other pro-abortion groups pushed for the restrictions to be lifted during the Covid-19 pandemic so women would not have to travel to get the abortion pill; they successfully won an injunction on the restrictions in July, at a federal district court.
Judge Theodore Chuang of the District of Maryland ruled that women could be prescribed the pill remotely and have it delivered or mailed to them.
In response, members of Congress asked the FDA to classify the abortion pill regimen as a public health hazard, and remove it from the market.
Justice Department attorneys appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which in October did not reverse Chuang’s decision or rule on the merits of the case; the court rather sent the case back to be reconsidered in several weeks, with the administration having an opportunity to present new evidence for its case.
He wrote that “particularly in light of the substantial spread of Covid-19 in recent weeks that increases the risk of all travel, the Court does not find that any changes to economic conditions or access to medical facilities, childcare, or transportation since the issuance of the (prior block on the rule) have been so favorable as to constitute changed circumstances”to justify lifting the block.
The administration then appealed back to the Supreme Court, saying it presented new evidence to Chuang that its restrictions are not an unlawful “undue burden” on abortion, because abortions increased in 2020 in states where the regulations remained.
Chief Justice Roberts was joined in his decision by newly appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as well as Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor penned a dissent, and Stephen Breyer said he believed the previous ruling should have been left in place.
The above comes from a Jan. 12 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.
Deo gratias! Chalk up one for women’s safety and baby’s too. There will be fewer women bleeding to death at home.
By its very nature, I believe abortion pills should require an in-person visit with a licensed prescriber and in-person delivery from a licensed dispenser.
I meant this is a step in the right direction. Abortions of any kind kill or maim the developing child and is also a danger to the woman. The more a woman has artificially terminated pregnancies, the more likely she will have excessive bleeding, other medical problems and/or get certain cancers at an early age. Many doctors will not tell women that. One bad thing about the contraceptive pill is that it fools the body once a month into thinking it is pregnant with chest enlargement and so forth, then suddenly not. That too helps produce cancers in women. Natural Family Planning is only safe way for married couples.
Anne TE, the truth about anything can’t be told any more. It may be offensive to those hearing it. That’s the greater sin.
“Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” I care not what any man or woman thinks of me, as the only thing that really matters in the world and the next is what God thinks of me.
As one saying goes, “What someone else thinks of me is none of my business.”
I was blessed to have some priests, friends and doctors who thought the same way I mentioned in my previous post, and because of their fear of God and not caring if I or others “liked” them, they told me the truth. God bless them all.
On the other hand I had people who did not tell me the truth and steered me the wrong way at times, either because they just did not know any better or had no fear of God. I pray their eyes be opened and for their conversion.
This precedent, if allowed to stand, would have been a huge blow to the fight against human trafficking.
I agree with you, Mark, as some women are forced to take the abortion pill in their homes, especially if they are kidnapped and forced into the sex industry, and it is never reported. Mailing it out only makes that easier.