Supreme Court To Hear Abortion Pill Case

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Washington. The Supreme Court is leaving in place a lower court ruling against duck liver lovers, declining Monday, May 22, 2023, to step in and hear a dispute over a California law that bars foie gras from being sold in the state. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on March 26 in a case that holds the potential to restrict access to the widely used abortion pill, mifepristone.

The court will consider an appeal from the Biden administration and the manufacturer of the branded version of mifepristone, seeking a reversal of a federal appeals court ruling that imposed significant limitations on the pill’s availability, even in states where abortion remains legal.

The imposed restrictions include prohibiting the mailing of the pills and reducing the timeframe within which mifepristone can be utilized for terminating pregnancies from the existing 10 weeks to seven weeks gestation.

Mifepristone is a key component in approximately half of all abortions nationwide, forming the initial part of a two-pill regimen. It is also utilized in managing miscarriages, as reported by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and advocacy group.

Despite the Supreme Court’s conservative 6-3 majority and its recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, access to mifepristone has remained unchanged due to an emergency ruling in April. The court rejected a separate appeal challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s initial approval of mifepristone in 2000.

The availability of abortion pills has posed challenges to conservative state leaders seeking to enforce abortion restrictions, as individuals can obtain them through mail-order pharmacies or travel out of state. Abortion rights advocates argue that the focus on restricting these drugs is rooted in their accessibility and express concerns that, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling, a Republican administration might attempt to eliminate nationwide access to them.