The Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is appealing to the Supreme Court a lower federal court’s August decision to place restrictions on mifepristone, an abortion-inducing drug.
Tyler Arnold of the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported that “The DOJ filed the appeal on Friday to prevent limits on the abortion pill mifepristone. The drug has [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)] approval to kill a preborn child up to the 10th week of pregnancy. It is commonly taken with another pill, misoprostol.”
In their August 16 ruling, the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit placed several restrictions on the use and availability of mifepristone, although they stopped short of rescinding its authorization by the FDA.
Most notably, the federal appeals court ended mail orders for the drug. It also instated the requirements that women who use it must be prescribed it by a doctor, have at least three in-person follow-up appointments, and be seven weeks or less into their pregnancy. Previously, the gestational limit for the drug was ten weeks.
As CatholicVote noted at the time, the Fifth Circuit is “widely considered one of the more conservative appeals courts in the country” and “has appellate jurisdiction over the district courts of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.”
Judge James Ho authored a dissenting opinion arguing that the ruling did not go far enough and should have completely revoked the FDA’s authorization of mifepristone.
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“I don’t understand this theme — the FDA can do no wrong,” Ho said on the day of the decision. “That is basically the narrative you all are putting forth — nobody should ever question the FDA.”
The Biden administration announced that it “strongly disagree[d]” with the ruling and confirmed that the DOJ “will be seeking Supreme Court review.”
In the statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that the decision “undermines FDA’s scientific, independent judgment and reimposes onerous restrictions on access to safe and effective medication abortion.”
“As our fight continues in the courts, President Biden and Vice President Harris remain firmly committed to defending reproductive health care, and the Administration will continue to stand by FDA’s independent approval of mifepristone as safe and effective,” said Jean-Pierre. “In the face of these unprecedented attacks on women’s health, we will continue to fight for women’s freedom to make decisions about their own bodies.
LifeNews Note: Joshua Mercer writes for CatholicVote, where this column originally appeared.