U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Alito keeps full access to mifepristone in place pending briefing next week

  • Print

gavel and pills

Image from Shutterstock.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito granted an administrative stay Friday that temporarily allows access to the abortion drug mifepristone for up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, as well as access through the mail.

The stay remains in place through Wednesday of next week, according to docket entries here and here. The federal government and the drug manufacturer Danco Laboratories had asked the Supreme Court to block a federal judge’s April 7 decision that revoked government approval of the drug during continuing litigation.

Alito gave plaintiffs challenging the drug’s approval until Tuesday of next week to file briefs responding to the government and Danco.

The New York Times, the Washington Post and SCOTUSblog have coverage.

U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas had ruled April 7 that the U.S Food and Drug Administration violated its statutory duty to consider safety concerns when it approved the drug in 2000.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans, however, said the plaintiffs likely sued too late to challenge approval of the drug, but they could challenge later decisions expanding access to the drug. As a result, the 5th Circuit allowed access to mifepristone pending appeal but kept in place part of Kacsmaryk’s decision blocking the FDA’s later decisions expanding access to the drug.

Those later decisions allowed mifepristone to be used for up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, rather than seven weeks, and allowed the drug to be dispensed by mail.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.