Federal restrictions on abortion pill delivery blocked by Supreme Court

by Jenny Mount · Oct 9th, 2020 4:17 pm

Last Updated Oct 10th, 2020 at 5:04 pm

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the enforcement of federal restrictions on women seeking access to an abortion drug during the pandemic.

The case marks the first abortion-related decision since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Supreme Court returned the case to a federal trial court in Maryland for further review, but Justices Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito dissented. The ruling allows women to continue to obtain an abortion pill by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Maryland federal judge ruled three months ago that health care providers can have mifepristone mailed or delivered to patients during the pandemic. Mifepristone has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be used in combination with misoprostol to end an early pregnancy or handle a miscarriage.

While Thursday's ruling is temporary, the larger legal ramifications will play out in court.

The administration is seeking to enforce a FDA rule that has suspended other in-person visits for different drugs, including opioids in some cases.

"Six weeks have passed since the application was submitted, but the Court refuses to rule," said Alito, adding that both he and Thomas would have granted the FDA's request.

The court requested the federal judge look at the issue again and rule within 40 days, which will postpone the Supreme Court from taking any action until after the November election.


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