The US Supreme Court has refused, for now, to re-impose FDA regulations requiring women seeking drug abortion to pick up prescribed pills in person at a clinic instead of in the mail.
The challenge to FDA regulation was launched by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists after the agency loosened similar regulations for other drugs, including opioids, in order to limit patient exposure to Covid-19 during the pandemic. but she refused to do so. relax the same rule for those who have prescriptions for abortion pills in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Federal Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland ruled in favor of ACOG, saying requiring such in-person pill withdrawals during a pandemic was “a substantial obstacle for women seeking abortion.” The Supreme Court has long ruled that such substantive obstacles unconstitutionally interfere with a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
On Thursday night, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to block the lower court order. But the decision was more of a stake than a long-term decree.
The High Court said it will maintain the Trump administration’s request “in obedience” to allow the district court judge to promptly consider other administration efforts to “dissolve, amend or maintain” its previous order if “the relevant circumstances they have changed”. And the judges said their decision did not indicate their views on the merits of the case should it come back to them.
The language of the one-paragraph order seemed to suggest that the court was simply unwilling to make any decisions in an abortion case two weeks after Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and just days before the U.S. Senate assumed the appointment of judge. Amy Coney Barrett as a replacement for Ginsburg.
“It is a relief that for the next few weeks the Trump administration cannot force aborted patients to unnecessarily risk contracting a life-threatening disease as a condition of obtaining treatment,” said Julia Kaye, ACOG legal counsel on the case. But, he added, “when President Trump is trying to go through a third Supreme Court justice with the explicit goal of overturning Roe v. Wade, the court’s delayed ruling in this case gives little comfort than the right to abortion. be sure “.
Disagreeing with Thursday night’s decision were Judges Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. Writing for the two, Alito said that “for all practical purposes there is little difference between what the court did and an express denial” of the Trump administration’s emergency motion to block the court order. inferior.
Alito went on to blame his colleagues for other actions taken during the pandemic by supporting bans on large church gatherings, decisions he called “unimaginable restrictions” on the “free exercise of religion.”