Washington D.C., Jan 12, 2021 / 16:48 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision Tuesday reversed a federal judge’s injunction that had blocked FDA rules requiring women to obtain an abortion pill from a doctor in person.
“The question before us is not whether the requirements for dispensing mifepristone impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion as a general matter,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Jan. 12. “The question is instead whether the District Court properly ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift those established requirements because of the court’s own evaluation of the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic.”
“Here as in related contexts concerning government responses to the pandemic, my view is that courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health,’” Roberts said, citing his previous arguments supporting state-imposed regulations on churches during the pandemic.
“In light of those considerations, I do not see a sufficient basis here for the District Court to compel the FDA to alter the regimen for medical abortion,” Roberts continued.
The normal requirement of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in place since 2000, is that the abortion pill be dispensed and administered in-person. The regulation is part of the REMS protocol, reserved for higher-risk drugs and procedures.