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SCOTUS Puts Temporary Hold on Abortion Pill Ruling

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary pause to the Biden administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) when it comes to last Friday's abortion pill ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. That ruling found that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violated federal standards when it approved mifepristone to be used as an abortion method in 2000. Late on Wednesday night, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Kacsmaryk's ruling only in part after the DOJ had requested a pause on Monday, and then appealed to the high court on Thursday. 


Justice Samuel Alito is the justice assigned to respond to emergency applications from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the order was signed by him. 

As Fox News' Shannon Bream reminded, this "isn't about the merits/substance," at least not yet. 

Curt Levey, a constitutional law attorney and the president of the Committee for Justice, cautioned those who would give the pause too deep a meaning. "This is a very short pause of just 5 days, so I wouldn’t read anything into it. It is intended to give the Supreme Court a few days to consider emergency appeals from the Biden administration and drug manufacturer to stay the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, as well as to allow the plaintiffs in the case to weigh in," he explained to Townhall in a statement.

"The pause doesn’t tell us anything about whether the Supreme Court will ultimately reverse the Fifth Circuit or even just issue a longer stay until the justices can decide the issue. The fact that Justice Alito announced the 5-day stay is similarly of no significance. He just happens to be the justice in charge of handling emergency appeals from the Fifth Circuit," he further added.

Students for Life of America/SFLAction President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement that it was "disappointing to see that one of the first scientific reviews of Chemical Abortion Pills was ignored to keep dangerous Chemical Abortion Pills on the market for now. But this is the beginning of a real discussion of how Chemical Abortion Pills expose women to injury, infertility, death, and abusers. Even if you support abortion, that’s not an argument for ignoring Black Box Warnings on deadly pills to speed up a sale."


Hawkins also spoke further about the health and safety concerns. "It’s not women who are helped when life-saving testing like an ultrasound is skipped, or when any preventative care for their fertility is ignored. That recklessness helps only the abortion industry allowed to save the money spent on testing, staff, and medicines, as they abandon women to things like 'torrential' bleeding in their homes, as the Fifth Circuit noted," she added. But as Students for Life of America has reported, the harms of Chemical Abortion Pills are far reaching, extending even to the environment, and this case will continue. We look forward to this case getting to court, as the secretive maneuverings of Democratic, abortion-supporting Presidents come to light."

SFLA is behind the This Is Chemical Abortion website to raise awareness about the method and has conducted a YouGov-Vinea poll by the Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement which shows strong support for regulations. 

While the appeals court had decided that the challenge to the 2000 approval of mifepristone had come too late, the court said that the challenges to the 2016 changes were timely enough to go forward. In 2016 the FDA made changes such as expanding the method from seven-weeks to 10 weeks and doing away with reporting nonfatal adverse events, thus making the method less regulated and less safe for women. The court also expedited the case on their calendar.


The Supreme Court was likely to hear the case as a ruling in conflict to Judge Kacsmaryk's came from U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice, of the Eastern District of Washington, also last Friday, who issued a decision ordering the FDA to keep the "status quo." 

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