The court’s three liberal justices said they had denied the Trump administration’s application for residency. In a dissenting opinion, Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said that federal government regulations restricting the supply of the abortion pill mifepristone are medically unnecessary and “an unnecessary, unjustifiable, irrational and unreasonable burden” on women.
“Government policy now allows patients to get prescriptions for strong opioids without leaving the home, and yet women must travel to a doctor’s office to receive mifepristone and then turn around, go home and take it unsupervised,” write. They also said the Trump administration has failed to prove how it would be harmed if mail delivery of the pills continued while the courts weighed the merits of the case.
A understaffed Supreme Court refused to intervene in the same case in October, allowing abortion clinics to continue dispensing the pills via telemedicine and mail, allegedly making patients and staff safer during the pandemic.
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its application after Barrett joined the bank. The government said continued enforcement of long-term FDA regulations approved for 20 years for mifepristone “does not place a significant burden on access to abortion”.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented abortion clinics that challenged FDA rules, said in a statement that the court’s decision “exposes patients to unnecessary COVID-19 risks” and urged the incoming Biden administration to call the FDA Abolish the rule.
“It’s mind-boggling that the Trump administration’s top priority on their way to the door is putting even more people at risk – and terrifying that the Supreme Court has allowed it to do so – in this dark pandemic winter,” said Julia Kaye, one Attorney for the US Government ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
The ACLU in separate litigation also urges the courts to permanently lift FDA restrictions on abortion drugs, which is the most common method of abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion groups have called the FDA completely revoke access to the abortion pill.