Court delays decision for at least 40 more days
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed ruling on the Trump administration’s dangerous attempt to reinstate a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirement that subjected patients to unnecessary COVID-19 exposure risks during the pandemic to access a safe medication for early abortion care.
The FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) restrictions on mifepristone mandate that patients pick up the medication directly from a doctor’s office, hospital, or other health center — rather than from a pharmacy or by mail, as allowed for other equally safe medications.
The court’s decision to delay acting on the administration’s request follows the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a staunch advocate for reproductive health care and rights. While the court’s decision on the government’s request is delayed for now, 16 other cases on abortion access are one step away from the Supreme Court.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president & CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Today’s action by the Supreme Court temporarily leaves in place a decision that has been an important step toward health equity for patients seeking abortion. As we mourn the death of reproductive health care champion Justice Ginsburg, we are reminded that it’s imperative to have a Supreme Court that defends our health and rights. The FDA’s requirements on mifepristone — which force patients to travel unnecessarily to a health center and risk COVID-19 exposure to access the safe, effective medication they need — only serve to create additional barriers to care for those already struggling from higher rates of illness, death, and economic difficulties due to COVID-19. We will not stop working to protect people’s access to reproductive health care, in the middle of this devastating public health crisis and beyond.”
In July, a federal district court in Maryland temporarily blocked this medically unnecessary requirement, allowing providers to mail the medication to patients during the pandemic. The preliminary injunction was issued in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and other leading medical organizations and reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates. Last month, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the requirements after both the district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected its request.
Mifepristone is safe, effective, and has been used by more than 4 million people since the FDA approved it 20 years ago. Leading medical associations, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Academy of Family Physicians, have maintained that the FDA’s long-standing restrictions on mifepristone are not based on evidence and do not benefit patients. In fact, out of 20,000 prescription medications regulated by the FDA, mifepristone is the only home-use medication required to be dispensed in person.
PPFA joined the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and other leading health care organizations in signing onto an amicus brief opposing the Trump administration’s attempt.
Planned Parenthood is proud to offer medication abortion via telehealth in 20 states. As a leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, Planned Parenthood is committed to making sure all patients receive the high-quality health care they need, when they need it — including safe, legal abortion. By providing medication abortion safely and effectively via telehealth, we can keep patients, providers, and health center staff safer during the pandemic and expand access to abortion for people, no matter where they live.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.