Washington: The Supreme Court on Friday preserved women’s access to a drug used in the most common method of abortion, rejecting lower-court restrictions while a lawsuit continues.
The justices granted emergency requests from the Biden administration and New York-based Danco Laboratories, maker of the drug mifepristone. They are appealing a lower court ruling that would roll back Food and Drug Administration approval of mifepristone.
The drug has been approved for use in the U.S. since 2000 and more than 5 million people have used it. Mifepristone is used in combination with a second drug, misoprostol, in more than half of all abortions in the U.S.
The court’s action Friday almost certainly will leave access to mifepristone unchanged at least into next year, as appeals play out, including a potential appeal to the high court. The next stop for the case is at the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which has set arguments in the case for May 17.
Two of the nine justices — Samuel Alito, the author of last year’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and Clarence Thomas — voted to allow restrictions to take effect, and Alito issued a four-page dissent. No other justices commented on the court’s one-paragraph order, and the court did not release a full vote breakdown.
President Joe Biden praised the high court for keeping mifepristone available while the court fight continues.