Jan 29, 2024 - Health

Supreme Court sets March 26 for abortion pill case

A picture of the outside of the Supreme Court.

Photo by Mandel Ngan//AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Monday set March 26 as the date for oral arguments on how patients can access mifepristone for medication abortion.

Why it matters: It will come less than two years after justices ended federal abortion protections by overturning Roe v. Wade.

Catch up quick: Mifepristone's manufacturer Danco Laboratories and the Department of Justice asked the high court in September to review a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • That court found that the FDA didn't take into account safety concerns when it made mifepristone more easily accessible in 2016.
  • Last week, the Biden Administration argued that the lower court's decision to curtail the drug would have "disruptive consequences" for women and the FDA if it's allowed to stand.
  • The Supreme Court set aside an hour for arguments in Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

State of play: Mifepristone remains available under an order the Supreme Court issued in April, pending the outcome of legal challenges.

  • The drug is banned in multiple states where abortion has been tightly regulated. Meanwhile, pharmacists in a handful of other states have started taking advantage of rules that allow them to prescribe and dispense mifepristone for medication abortion, NPR reported.

Another thing: Justices also decided to review a free speech case challenging the government's ability to communicate with social media companies over content moderation. It was sparked by what the government described as attempts to combat medical misinformation.

  • The high court will hear oral arguments in that case on March 18.
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