The Supreme Court has extended its stay on lower court orders restricting access to the abortion pill until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 21.
Justice Samuel Alito previously paused the lower court orders for five days on Friday to give the Court more time to make a decision regarding the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request for both a short-term administrative stay and long-term stay pending appeal. He extended that stay an additional two days in an order filed Wednesday.
The Northern District of Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk initially issued a preliminary injunction against the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, the first of two drugs used in a chemical abortion, on April 8.
The Fifth Circuit partially blocked the ruling last Thursday, but left in place key restrictions on rules the FDA implemented after 2016, including ones that allowed distribution of the pill via mail and extended the latest date it could be used in pregnancy to 10 weeks. (RELATED: Supreme Court Pauses Lower Court Rulings Restricting Abortion Pills)
Abortion opponents filed 11 briefs by noon on Tuesday, the deadline Alito set for opposition briefs.
In its reply brief filed Tuesday night, the FDA warned that the lower court orders would “scramble the regulatory regime governing a drug that FDA determined was safe and effective under the approved conditions and that has been used by more than five million American women over the last two decades.”
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