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Jonathan Adler on what the Supreme Court's abortion decision means

Law professor Jonathan Adler helps explain the Supreme Court's latest decision on the abortion drug mifepristone.

Jonathan Adler on what the Supreme Court's abortion decision means
Alex Brandon / AP

Jonathan Adler is a law professor at Case Western Reserve University. He joined Scripps News on the phone in the minutes after the Supreme Court issued its decision to preserve access to the abortion drug mifepristone.

He tells us what the ruling means, and helps put the court's decision on mifepristone into the broader context of the case.

The Supreme Court is seen on Friday, April 21, 2023

Supreme court preserves access to abortion pill

There will be no changes to how the abortion pill mifepristone is prescribed while a case on its FDA approval moves through a lower court.


"What the court has said is 'We're pressing pause,' that 'Until the lower courts have time to go through the case and deal with the merits, nothing is going to change,'" Adler said. "There will be no effect on the FDA's prior approval of the abortion medication, and the rules governing that medication, until lower courts have had the time to consider the substantive arguments more fully."

"This one case over such a hot button issue, the use of this abortion medication, raised a wide range of legal doctrines that aren't confined to abortion, and aren't even confined to the Food and Drug Administration. And I think the justices wanted to take some time to make sure they weren't making a rash decision in telling lower courts that they had to press pause," Adler said. "Doing that is something unusual. It's what we refer to as extraordinary relief, for a higher court to reach down in the middle of lower court proceedings and press the pause button. I think the justices wanted to take time to make sure that this was a case where that was justified."