Supreme Court Pauses Lower Court Rulings Restricting Abortion Pills

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Justice Samuel Alito temporarily paused lower court orders restricting the abortion pill in an order Friday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case Friday morning, requesting a stay on Northern District of Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s order suspending the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill. Alito granted a five-day administrative stay until Wednesday next week, allowing the court more time to make a decision on the request.

Previously, the Fifth Circuit partially blocked Judge Kacsmaryk’s order, upholding FDA approval but restricting rules implemented after 2016, which allowed the distribution of the pill via mail and extended the latest point it could be used in pregnancy to 10 weeks.

The order, which came just hours before restrictions were set to take effect, allows the Court to consider the Biden DOJ’s request for a longer stay pending appeal on the Fifth Circuit’s decision, and, if necessary, an appeal to the Supreme Court. (RELATED: DOJ To Ask Supreme Court To Intervene In Abortion Pills Case)

Mifepristone (Mifeprex) and Misoprostol, the two drugs used in a medication abortion, are seen at the Women’s Reproductive Clinic, which provides legal medication abortion services, in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on June 17, 2022. Mifepristone is taken first to stop the pregnancy, followed by Misoprostol to induce bleeding. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Alito’s order also requires opponent responses to be filed before Tuesday at noon.

In the DOJ’s application filed this morning, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote that the lower courts’ orders would “upend the regulatory regime for mifepristone, with sweeping consequences for the pharmaceutical industry, women who need access to the drug, and FDA’s ability to implement its statutory authority.”

Abortion pill maker Danco Laboratories filed its own application for a stay this morning.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, representing the plantiffs suing to block FDA approval, said in a tweet this is ” a standard process for SCOTUS emergency requests.”
“We look forward to explaining why the FDA has provided no legitimate reason to pause the parts of the district court’s decision that restore critical safeguards for women and girls,” ADF said.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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