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US Supreme Court refuses Trump administration’s request to restrict delivery of abortion medication

Published on 09/10/20 at 01:08pm
Photo by Mr. Kjetil Ree.

The US Supreme Court has struck down a request from the Trump administration to restrict delivery of abortion medicine during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The case, titled FDA v American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), centred on the FDA’s rule that required people to obtain abortion medicine in person from a medical provider rather than from a pharmacy or through the mail. The ACOG argued that this was unnecessary and potentially dangerous due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was not a requirement for other riskier drugs. 

In May, the District Court of Maryland agreed with the ACOG that the FDA rule could be bypassed until 30 days after the pandemic ends. The Department of Justice appealed the decision, which was refused, and then asked the Supreme Court to issue an emergency ruling, which they also refused to do. They are now giving the Maryland court 40 days to consider the local appeal by the government before taking any further action, putting a decision past election day. 

Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented from the ruling, stating that the abortion medication should only be given in person by a medical professional. 

In early September, GOP Senators sent a letter to the FDA urging them to take one of the abortion pills, Mifeprex, completely off the market. 

The initial Maryland District Court decision to loosen restrictions on what medicine could be sent by mail followed the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation that doctors use telemedicine as much as possible during the pandemic, and that patients get their medicine through deliveries. However, it still maintained that patients who were seeking to induce an aboriton must physically pick up Mifeprex and other abortion drugs, despite them being self-administered treatments. Patients who use these drugs for other ailments could get them delivered.

Conor Kavanagh

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