Supreme Court Upholds Access to Abortion Pill in Unanimous Ruling

This ruling, authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, found the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to sue, meaning they could not show harm caused by the FDA's actions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against anti-abortion groups and doctors seeking to limit access to the abortion pill, mifepristone, in a case that represents a win for President Joe Biden’s administration.

The justices decided 9-0 to overturn a lower court’s decision to reverse FDA measures from 2016 and 2021, which had eased how the drug is prescribed and distributed.

This ruling, authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, found the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to sue, meaning they could not show harm caused by the FDA’s actions.

Mifepristone, approved by the FDA in 2000, is used in over 60% of U.S. abortions.

The justices emphasized that plaintiffs from the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, who do not prescribe or use the drug, wanted to make it harder for others to access it.

Kavanaugh wrote, “Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue.”

The ruling supports Biden’s stance on preserving reproductive rights, highlighting ongoing battles even after the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

Biden criticized Republican officials’ efforts to ban abortion nationwide, stating that the fight for reproductive freedom continues and women’s rights are still at risk.

Plaintiffs argued the FDA overstepped its authority by easing restrictions on mifepristone, claiming it violated federal regulations.

Erin Hawley from the Alliance Defending Freedom expressed disappointment but noted the ruling was based on a “legal technicality” rather than the merits of their arguments.

She indicated the litigation would continue as some states have already intervened.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, abortion rights remain a contentious issue, with Biden and other Democrats pushing for federal laws to protect these rights.

Biden noted that restrictive state laws often lack exceptions for rape or incest and threaten healthcare providers with severe penalties.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump supports state rights to decide on abortion and exceptions for rape, incest, and the mother’s life.

His campaign has yet to detail how his administration would regulate abortion drugs if he is re-elected.

The FDA maintains that mifepristone, used alongside misoprostol, is extremely safe based on decades of use and numerous studies.

Abortion rights advocates, like Nancy Northup from the Center for Reproductive Rights, expressed both relief and frustration at the ruling, emphasizing that the case should not have advanced so far.

The Supreme Court is also expected to rule on Idaho’s stringent abortion ban by the end of June, further influencing the national landscape on this issue.