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Tipsheet

SCOTUS Pauses Abortion Pill Ruling During Appeal

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

After issuing several temporary stays already, the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday evening that the common but dangerous abortion pill method will remain available and unchanged while the Biden administration appeals a decision from U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s abortion ruling from earlier this month. That decision found that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violated federal standards when it approved mifepristone to be used as an abortion method in 2000.

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Justice Samuel Alito, who, as the justice handling emergency petitions from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, had granted previous pauses before this most recent Friday decision. He and Justice Clarence Thomas made their dissenting votes public, though that does not mean that the decision was 7-2, as Fox News Shannon Bream highlighted.

The 5th Circuit had ruled earlier this month to block Judge Kacsmaryk’s in part, based on how a lawsuit was not timely based on how the FDA approved mifepristone back in 2000. The court had allowed more recent changes that the FDA had made in 2016 to be suspended though. Such changes included approving the abortion pill method, also known as medication abortion or chemical abortion, from 7-weeks to 10-weeks. In-person office visits were also reduced to just one visit, non-doctors were allowed to prescribe and administer mifepristone, and the reporting of nonfatal adverse events was eliminated. 

Just as the Biden administration had appealed Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision to the 5th Circuit though, so had they appealed that court's ruling to the Supreme Court. 

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The 5th Circuit will hear the case next month on an expedited schedule. 

That President Joe Biden was so quick to put forth a statement and express relief is especially concerning. "I continue to stand by FDA’s evidence-based approval of mifepristone, and my Administration will continue to defend FDA’s independent, expert authority to review, approve, and regulate a wide range of prescription drugs," his statement read in part, ignoring how the FDA made changes in December 2021 to make the method even less safer and even less regulated.

Due to changes from the Biden administration's FDA, women can receive abortion-inducing drugs in the mail, without an in-person visit. 

In November of 2021, just before the FDA made their decision, the Charlotte Lozier (CLI) Institute released a peer reviewed journal that showed emergency room visits went up 507 percent between 2002 and 2015 following this method, and that 60 percent of visits were incorrectly attributed to miscarriages. 

The FDA appears to have a pattern of dangerous behavior, as it did not properly look to studies showing averse effects from the method. 

Students for Life of America, which has been educating on the dangerous of the method through their This Is Chemical Abortion website and by conducting polling, has also warned about the issue from an environmental perspective. 

The group's Friday night statement in response included a statement from President Kristan Hawkins. "This makes Students for Life of America's campaign for Environmental Justice for the Preborn even more important," she said. "We've had more than 20 years of government sanctioned, corporate dumping of medical waste as chemically tainted blood, placenta tissue, & human remains get flushed into our water systems. FIVE TIMES the FDA failed to see whether the deadly pills were also harming endangered species as they hurt preborn infants. Their willingness to allow women to suffer and even our planet to be polluted just to make a quick sale of deadly drugs will be challenged. The issues with these drugs are piling up."

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"Alito" has been trending on Twitter as people highlight his dissent, as has "Supreme Court."

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