Breaking News

Supreme Court to hear abortion pill case that challenges FDA approval

A federal appeals court intervened in the FDA's approval process for an abortion drug that was approved by the agency in 2000.

Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Allen G. Breed/AP
SMS

The Supreme Court will hear a pair of cases involving the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, which is used for medication abortions. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration, mifepristone is approved for use to terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks into gestation. 

Despite its past approval, a federal appeals court ruled doctors and associations of doctors who oppose abortion have standing to challenge past FDA actions with respect to mifepristone’s approved conditions of use and that those actions were likely arbitrary. 

The effect of the court's ruling is that the doctors who oppose abortion were able to get the appeals court to reject the FDA's approval of the drug. 

Woman seeks out-of-state abortion as Texas top court rules against her
Woman seeks out-of-state abortion as Texas top court rules against her

Woman seeks out-of-state abortion as Texas top court rules against her

Her fetus has a genetic condition known as trisomy 18, which makes the baby likely to die in the womb or live for a week at most after birth.

LEARN MORE

Abortion-rights advocates say the appeals court's ruling makes it more challenging for women to seek abortions. The drug accounts for 53% of all abortions in the U.S. 

In January, the FDA updated its guidance on prescribing mifepristone that the drug can be issued without an in-person appointment. The ACLU, however, said the updated guidance didn't go far enough as it limits those who can prescribe the drug by those who meet certain qualifications.

The appeals court left this provision intact.