US Supreme Court to hear case on access to abortion pills

 The United States Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it will consider a case that could limit access to mifepristone, one of the most widely used abortion pills in the country.

The high court, which has a conservative majority, is expected to make its decision in July, before the end of the judicial year.

If so, its ruling would coincide with the ramping up of the 2024 presidential campaign, with Election Day on November 5, and would once again put the abortion issue at the center of the campaign, as was the case in the November 2022 legislative midterm elections.

The court is hearing the case because both the Joe Biden administration and the drug’s manufacturer asked it to review an adverse ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of mifepristone in 2000, and years later, in 2016, eased access to the pill.

The appeals court found that the US health regulator broke the law by allowing the drug to be prescribed in telemedicine consultations and sent by mail.

The legal battle over mifepristone, which along with misoprostol is used in more than half of all abortions in the US, began in April when Texas federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, nominated by former President Donald Trump (2017-2021), ordered the withdrawal of the drug’s health approval.

In response, the Supreme Court ruled that existing regulations for the abortion pill would remain in place for the duration of the litigation.

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, an association of anti-abortion doctors, has continued to lobby the courts, questioning the safety of the drug, whose future will once again be in the hands of the Supreme Court.

The 2022 midterm legislative elections came just months after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority struck down constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place since 1973.

Since the ruling, dozens of Republican-led states have restricted or banned abortions

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga