U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has placed a hold on the lower court ruling that temporarily stopped the sale of the abortion pill mifepristone, CBS News reports.
Anti-abortion doctors and groups have brought a lawsuit that challenges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the drug mifepristone, which is one of the most commonly used drugs to commit an abortion. The approval was granted in 2000.
The challengers argue that the approval process was flawed in that it failed to take into consideration various aspects of the drug's safety. Accordingly, the challengers are looking to get the approval overturned.
The challengers brought the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas. At the outset, they asked for preliminary relief stopping the sale of mifepristone while the litigation process plays out.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk - an appointee of former President Donald Trump - granted that preliminary relief, which, in effect, would stop the sale of the drug.
Kacsmaryk, however, gave the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) a week to appeal his preliminary ruling before the ruling would go into effect and before the sale of the drug would be halted. The Biden administration took this opportunity.
The case, last week, went before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. There, the Biden administration only managed to obtain a partial victory.
The 5th Circuit did reverse Kacsmaryk's decision allowing mifepristone to continue to be sold. But, the court also halted the implementation of changes made by the FDA, since 2016, to the availability of mifepristone.
But changes made by the FDA since 2016 relaxing the rules for prescribing and dispensing mifepristone would be placed on hold. Those include extending the period of pregnancy when the drug can be used and also allowing it to be dispensed by mail, without any need to visit a doctor’s office.
Unhappy with the 5th Circuit's ruling, the DOJ decided to next appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito responded to the DOJs petition for an emergency stay on the lower court ruling.
ABC News reports:
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday issued an administrative stay of the Texas court ruling on the abortion medication mifepristone until the end of the day on Wednesday, April 19.
What this means is that mifepristone will be allowed to be sold until at least Wednesday. And, in the meantime, the justices will consider how to rule on the DOJ's emergency relief petition.
Now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court.