The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted a lower court’s ruling restricting an abortion pill until Wednesday night. The hold will give the Supreme Court time to review the controversial legal battle over mifespristone, the drug in question, and is the latest chapter in an ongoing battle on this issue since the high court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
The Friday ruling came after the Biden administration requested the high court preserve access to the abortion pill, seen by many as a way for Americans to skirt state laws limiting abortion.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor last week of more restrictions on mifespristone, an abortion-inducing pill, notably that it can no longer be distributed via mail.
That court found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ignored alarming data about the safety of the pill and removed safeguards, possibly for political reasons, in the last year of the Obama administration.
“Imagine that an agency compiles studies about how cars perform when they have passive restraint systems, like automatic seatbelts,” the court said. “For nearly a decade, the agency collects those studies and continues studying how cars perform with passive safety measures. Then one day the agency changes its mind and eliminates passive safety measures based only on existing data of how cars perform with passive safety measures. That was obviously arbitrary and capricious in [an earlier 1983 case] State Farm. And so too here.”