Justice Samuel Alito temporarily extends access to abortion drug while Supreme Court considers case

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday extended a hold on a lower court ruling that would have imposed restrictions on access to an abortion drug, a temporary move meant to give the justices more time to consider the issue.

Alito said the order is stayed until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday. He also asked plaintiffs to respond on or before noon ET Tuesday.

The case is the most important abortion-related dispute to reach the high court since the justices overturned Roe v. Wade last term. It centers on the scope of the US Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate a drug that is used in the majority of abortions today in states that still allow the procedure.

Alito issued a so-called administrative stay on the ruling while the high court considers an emergency appeal filed by the Biden administration and a manufacturer of the drug, mifepristone. The move does not reflect the final disposition of the case.

Parts of the ruling by US District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that restricted access to the drug were set to go into effect Saturday at 1 a.m. ET, but the latest development puts off that deadline in the fast-moving dispute.

Alito issued the order because he has jurisdiction over the federal appeals court involved in the case.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in the filing from Biden’s Justice Department earlier Friday that it “concerns unprecedented lower court orders countermanding FDA’s scientific judgment and unleashing regulatory chaos by suspending the existing FDA-approved conditions of use for mifepristone.”

She said that if the ruling were allowed to stand it would “inflict grave harm on women, the medical system, the agency, and the public.”

President Joe Biden echoed those remarks early Saturday morning upon returning from his trip to Ireland.

“I think it’s outrageous what the court has done, relative to concluding that they’re going to overrule the FDA on whether something is safe or not,” he said. “I think it’s out of their domain.”

Danco, a manufacturer of the drug, also asked the justices to step in on an emergency basis before Friday, with an attorney for the company saying in its filing that leaving the lower court opinion in play will “irreparably harm Danco, which will be unable to both conduct its business nationwide and comply with its legal obligations under the FDCA nationwide.”

“The lack of emergency relief from this Court will also harm women, the healthcare system, the pharmaceutical industry, States’ sovereignty interests, and the separation-of-powers,” the attonrey, Jessica L. Ellsworth, told the justices.

The controversy began when Kacsmaryk issued a broad ruling last week that blocked the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug, as well as changes the FDA made in subsequent years to make the drug more accessible.

Late Wednesday, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals froze part of the ruling. The court said the drug, that was approved in 2000, could stay on the market, but agreed with Kacsmaryk that access could be limited.

The appeals court ordered a return to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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