The Supreme Court agreed on December 13 to take up appeals from the Biden administration on an appellate ruling that would cut off access to the abortion drug mifepristone through the mail and impose other restrictions on access to the medication, the Associated Press reported.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision prevented the drug from being prescribed through the mail or telemedicine and imposed additional restrictions, like shortening the time during which the drug can be used from ten weeks to seven weeks.
The justices rejected a separate appeal from pro-life advocates who challenged the FDA’s initial approval of mifepristone in 2000.
Oral arguments are scheduled for the spring with a decision expected in late June.
Pro-life groups filed challenges to mifepristone in November 2022 just months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Initially, the pro-life groups won a sweeping victory with the lower court revoking the mifepristone’s FDA approval completely.
Unsurprisingly, the decision was appealed, and in April, the Supreme Court blocked the lower court’s ruling from taking effect while the case continued to play out in the courts.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in August reversed the lower court’s ruling revoking the FDA’s approval of the drug, allowing mifepristone to remain legal in the US but under specific restrictions. The Biden administration and the maker of mifepristone then appealed the appeals court’s decision to the Supreme Court.
In its filing to the Court, the Justice Department argued that the 5th Circuit’s restrictions would have “damaging consequences” both for the women seeking abortions but also for the “healthcare system that relies on the availability of the drug under the current conditions of use.”
In a December 13 statement from the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration would continue defending abortion. She denounced abortion bans claiming they “jeopardize women’s health and threaten to criminalize doctors.”