Justice Department to ask Supreme Court to intervene in abortion pill ruling


DOJ appeals abortion pill ruling

DOJ asks appeals court to pause abortion pill ruling


Washington — The Justice Department said Thursday that it plans to ask the Supreme Court to put on hold an appeals court decision that preserved access to the abortion pill while rolling back a number of moves by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that expanded availability of the drug.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA to deny in part our request for a stay pending appeal,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “We will be seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court to defend the FDA’s scientific judgment and protect Americans’ access to safe and effective reproductive care.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit late Wednesday halted a lower court judge’s decision that blocked the FDA’s 2000 approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. But it left in place part of the judge’s order that put on hold changes made by the FDA beginning in 2016, which eased the rules for prescribing and dispensing mifepristone. 

Those actions by the FDA extended the time during a pregnancy when the drug can be used from seven weeks to 10 weeks and allowed it to be dispensed by mail.

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