The Supreme Court is asked by Trump administration to reinstate a rule requiring abortion seekers to visit health care providers in person to acquire one of the pills for medication abortion, after lower courts blocked the rule during the ongoing of coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey wall wrote ” Given that surgical methods of abortion remain widely available, the enforcement of longstanding safety requirements for a medication abortion during the first ten weeks of pregnancy does not constitute a substantial obstacle to abortion access, even if the Covid-19 pandemic has made obtaining any method of abortion in person somewhat riskier.”
The administration’s efforts follow several states efforts to limit abortion access during the pandemic , labeling it an elective procedure that can be limited under state orders professing to protect stores of personal protective equipment during the pandemic. the move also comes on the heels of other efforts by the administration to regulate abortion access. The administration issued in federal regulation in December that would have required insurers on the Obamacare exchanges that cover abortions to issue separate bills for that coverage. A federal judge blocked it in July.
On Wednesday, Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement that she hoped Supreme Court would deny the petition. She said, “The Trump administration refuses to end its crusade to subject abortion patients and their families to entirely unnecessary exposure risks. Forcing patients to travel during a pandemic just to pick up a pill is irrational and dangerous, which is why the medical community uniformly opposes this senseless rule.”
Medication abortion, a nonsurgical procedure effective until about 10 weeks into a pregnancy, typically entails taking two drugs several days apart. The contested regulation concerns mifepristone, the first drug, which works to block the hormone progesterone necessary for a pregnancy to continue.
Lower court sided with the groups and temporarily blocked the requirements in July and a federal appeals court denied the administration’s efforts to overturn the ruling earlier this month.
The Trump administration’s challenges comes after several reproductive health groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the FDA in May over the longstanding requirements, arguing that it was unconstitutional for the agency to maintain the rule for the abortion drug while lifting it for other drugs in light of the pandemic.