CNA Staff, Dec 10, 2020 / 17:01 pm
A federal judge on Wednesday refused to lift an order barring Food and Drug Administration requirements that the abortion pill be administered in person, after the US Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court in October.
In July, Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the US District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that the 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 mifepristone. Justice Department attorneys appealed the order.
Chuang maintained that decision Dec. 9, writing that "particularly in light of the substantial spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks that increases the risk of all travel, the Court does not find that any changes to economic conditions or access to medical facilities, childcare, or transportation since the issuance of the (prior block on the rule) have been so favorable as to constitute changed circumstances" to justify lifting the block.
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 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.