The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously confirms access to the abortion pill mifepristone | united states news

The availability of a common abortion pill will remain unchanged, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a unanimous 9-0 decision, handing a major victory to abortion rights supporters who feared that the court that overturned Roe v. Wade just two years ago hack access to the procedure.

conservative bloc

  • Alito – Majority

  • Barrett – Majority

  • Gorsuch – Majority

  • Kavanaugh – Majority

  • Roberts – Majority

  • Thomas – Majority

liberal bloc

  • Jackson – Majority

  • Kagan – Majority

  • Sotomayor – Majority

Abortion rights supporters protest outside the Supreme Court as it hears arguments in the abortion pill case in Washington DC on March 26, 2024. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The case, a consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and Danco Laboratories LLC v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, dealt with the FDA’s ability to regulate mifepristone, one of two drugs typically used in medication abortions, which now account for more than 60% of all abortions in the United States and have become a major target of anti-abortion activists. A coalition of abortion opponents had tried to persuade the Supreme Court to overturn a series of actions taken by the FDA to expand access to the drug, such as allowing abortion providers to mail mifepristone to patients, a request that the judges received with skepticism at the hearing. March arguments of the case.

Abortion opponents claimed that if current FDA regulations on mifepristone were allowed to stand, anti-abortion doctors could be harmed if they had to treat women experiencing complications from mifepristone. But in Thursday’s majority opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh rejected that argument, ruling that anti-abortion activists failed to show they had the legal right or standing to bring the case in the first place.

“Because plaintiffs do not prescribe, manufacture, sell, or advertise mifepristone or endorse a competing drug, plaintiffs suffer no direct monetary damages from the FDA’s actions relaxing its regulation of mifepristone,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Nor do they suffer harm to their property, or the value of their property, from the FDA’s actions. Because plaintiffs do not use mifepristone, they obviously cannot suffer physical harm from the FDA’s actions relaxing mifepristone regulation.”

Instead, he said, anti-abortion activists attempted to advance “several complicated theories of causation,” none of which met the threshold for establishing a position.

The unanimous ruling marked a rare moment of consensus on abortion, an issue that has divided the court and the country.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the court’s toughest conservative justices, wrote a concurring opinion that dealt primarily with the legal nuances of standing, arguing that so-called “abortionists” – a term widely viewed as derogatory among providers of abortions – should also lack standing to sue on behalf of their patients.

Members of Congress praised Thursday’s decision. “This is a massive victory for abortion access, but there is no doubt: we must codify access to reproductive care across the country,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., posted on X.

“This challenge to mifepristone was unfounded from the beginning. Abortion medications are safe and effective,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., added about X. “Make no mistake: Donald Trump and Republican politicians will not stop moving us toward a nationwide abortion ban. We must protect reproductive freedom everywhere.”

Although the ruling pleased abortion rights activists, many had similar reactions to Warren, saying they were disappointed the case had reached the nation’s highest court in the first place. Mifepristone has been widely recognized as a safe and effective way to induce medical abortions.

“We are relieved that the Supreme Court has recognized this bogus case for what it is, but this baseless pressure to block access to abortion should never have been heard by them in the first place,” said Mini Timmaraju, executive director and president of Reproductive Freedom for All. , he said in a statement. “We need judicial reform to save the legitimacy of our federal judiciary, and we will not stop fighting for it until it is a reality.”

Given that the outcome of the case was based on standing, there is a possibility that other plaintiffs – including conservative states – will continue to challenge access to mifepristone.

The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on its second abortion case this term, which involves a federal law that requires hospitals to stabilize the health of patients who come to their emergency rooms with medical emergencies. The Biden administration and the state of Idaho have clashed over whether this law requires doctors to perform emergency abortions.

“Today’s decision does not change the fact that the fight for reproductive freedom continues. Doesn’t change the fact that the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade Two years ago, and women lost a fundamental freedom,” Joe Biden said in a statement. “This does not change the fact that a woman’s right to receive the treatment she needs is endangered, if not impossible, in many states.”

The president, as he has done repeatedly during his re-election campaign, called on Congress to codify Roe’s protections into law.

Had abortion opponents won, the ruling could also have had consequences for all drugs regulated by the FDA, including other types of politicized drugs such as vaccines, HIV drugs, and drugs used in gender-affirming healthcare.

Danco Laboratories, a maker of mifepristone and a plaintiff in the case, applauded Thursday’s opinion, which overturned and remanded a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that would have rolled back the FDA’s efforts to expand access to mifepristone.

“By rejecting the Fifth Circuit’s sweeping, unprecedented, and unsustainable interpretation of who has standing to sue, the justices reaffirmed long-standing basic principles of administrative law,” Danco executive Abigail Long said in a statement. “In doing so, they maintained the stability of the FDA’s drug approval process, which is based on the agency’s expertise and trusted by patients, healthcare providers, and the American pharmaceutical industry.”

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