Posts tagged with "Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the brief"

Supreme Court upholds access to mifepristone abortion pill in unanimous decision

June 13, 2024

On Thursday, June 13, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that a group of anti-abortion doctors does not have any legal basis to challenge access to mifepristone, one of the two common drugs used in medication abortion.

As a result, access to mifepristone won’t change, reports The Hill.

The opinion, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sided with the Biden Administration and Danco, the manufacturer of the branded version of mifepristone. It reversed a lower court decision that would have made it more difficult to obtain the drug, which is used in about two-thirds of U.S. abortions.

The ruling didn’t address the underlying regulatory or safety issues the plaintiffs raised, instead deciding the case only on standing. The justices found the conservative doctors in the lawsuit did not show they had personally been harmed by the government’s actions regulating mifepristone.

“Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue,” Kavanaugh wrote.

The drug will remain available to people up to the tenth week of pregnancy and will still be available through the mail. The decision is a victory for the Biden Administration’s efforts to maintain access to abortion, but it also is a victory for the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate drugs.

Leading up oral arguments, pharmaceutical companies and FDA law experts urged the court not to second-guess the agency’s expertise and side with the plaintiffs. A ruling against the administration could have undermined the entire drug approval process, they argued.

“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision in this incredibly important case. By rejecting the Fifth Circuit’s radical, unprecedented and unsupportable interpretation of who has standing to sue, the justices reaffirmed longstanding basic principles of administrative law,” said Abigail Long, a spokesperson for Danco. “The decision also safeguards access to a drug that has decades of safe and effective use.”

Still, mifepristone remains illegal in the more than a dozen states that ban abortion.

The case centered on whether federal regulators overstepped their authority by loosening restrictions to make mifepristone easier to access. The FDA first approved mifepristone in 2000 for abortion up to seven weeks of pregnancy, but then made a series of changes in 2016 and 2021.

Those changes included increasing the gestational age at which mifepristone can be used to up to ten weeks of pregnancy, allowing the medication to be mailed to patients, lowering the dosage, allowing telehealth prescribing, and permitting providers other than physicians to prescribe the drug.

The FDA has repeatedly found that mifepristone is safe and that a medication abortion regimen that includes mifepristone and a second drug, misoprostol, is a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortions.

Research contact: @thehill