CNA Staff, Sep 8, 2020 / 16:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The Supreme Court could soon rule on a major abortion case, after the Trump administration appealed to maintain safety regulations of the abortion pill.
The Justice Department (DOJ) filed an Aug. 26 emergency motion at the Supreme Court to halt a federal district court’s decision from going into effect that would nullify federal regulations of the abortion pill during the new coronavirus pandemic.
In July, federal judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) listing of the abortion pill regimen alongside higher-risk procedures and drugs posed an undue burden on women seeking abortions during the pandemic, because it required them to travel to a medical facility to obtain the abortion pills. Chuang, and a federal circuit court which upheld his ruling in August, said that women should be able to take abortion pills without a visit to a doctor’s office.
Since 2000, the FDA has placed the chemical abortion protocol of mifepristone and misoprostol—allowed in the U.S. for abortions up to 10 weeks in a pregnancy—under its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) list, requiring it to be prescribed in-person in a hospital, clinic, or medical office. The patient must sign a form acknowledging that she has been adequately informed of the risks.
Pro-abortion groups, however, have pushed for the pill to be dispensed remotely via telemedicine during the coronavirus pandemic, due to apparent difficulties women could face traveling to a clinic in-person.
On July 13, Judge Chuang ruled that the REMS requirement of an in-person clinic visit doesn’t have to be applied during the pandemic, allowing for the abortion pill regimen to be prescribed remotely.