The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to take up a major case involving access to the so-called abortion pill. The case, known as Banales v. FDA, involves a challenge to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rules restricting access to mifepristone, which is used in combination with misoprostal to terminate a pregnancy. The FDA’s rules restrict access to the drug, specifying that it must be prescribed in person and received at a certified medical facility.
The Biden administration has asked the court to review a ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected a lawsuit challenging the rules. The administration warned that if the Supreme Court does not take the case, “the result will be to prolong the significant delay in the availability of mifepristone to those who need it.”
The Biden administration argued that the Court needs to hear the case “because the lower court’s decision leaves women and their providers without binding judicial guidance regarding their ability to access mifepristone.” The administration added that the “ongoing delay” in getting access to the drug is causing “unnecessary health risks” and increased costs for those who need it.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide by June whether it will take the case. Abortion rights groups have filed several lawsuits over the years challenging the FDA’s regulations on mifepristone access. While the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the issue, the lower courts have generally sided with the government in upholding the restrictions. If the Supreme Court does decide to take up the case, it could provide more clarity on the issue and help set a legal precedent determining how mifepristone can be accessed in the future.