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Supreme Court Won't Intervene (Yet) To Stop Abortion Pills From Being Prescribed Remotely

 

The U.S. Supreme Court won't intervene to stop abortion drugs from being remotely prescribed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, abortion-inducing medications must be prescribed and dispensed in person and by a physician, per the rules of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But in July, a federal district court temporarily suspended that requirement.

The Trump administration then challenged the decision, which had been written by Judge Theodore Chuang of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Chuang argued that requiring the (medically unnecessary) in-person visit during a pandemic and lockdown was likely unconstitutional, as it would "place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a medication abortion."

In an October 8 response, the Supreme Court said it would not give its "views on the merits of the District Court's order or injunction," but it asked the District Court "to promptly consider a motion by the Government to dissolve, modify, or stay the injunction, including on the ground that relevant circumstances have changed." It gave the district court 40 days to do so.

The Court's response in the case (FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) "was unusual in that it neither granted nor denied the government's request," notes Reuters.

Justices Samuel Alito dissented, with Clarence Thomas joining him.

For more on what it all means, see Josh Blackman at The Volokh Conspiracy ("Making Sense of FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists") and Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog ("Justices delay action on FDA request to reinstate abortion-pill restrictions").


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