WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered women to visit a doctor’s office, hospital or clinic in person to get an abortion pill during the COVID-19 pandemic, although similar rules for other drugs have been suspended during the public health situation.
Eight days before President Donald Trump leaves office, the judges granted a Trump administration appeal to enforce a lengthy rule on getting the abortion pill, mifepristone. The pill does not need to be taken in the presence of medical professionals.
The court shared 6-3 with the Liberal judges in disagreement. The new administration was able to put the claim back personally after Joe Biden took office on January 20th.
A federal judge had suspended the rule since July because of coronavirus in response to a lawsuit from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other groups.
U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang confirmed the suspension of the rule in December, saying public health risks for patients had increased as COVID-1
The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone for use in combination with another drug, misoprostol, to terminate an early pregnancy or treat an abortion.
The administration has in some cases suspended similar personal visits for other drugs, including opioids, but refused to relax the rules to get the abortion pill.
In October, the Supreme Court allowed women to continue receiving the abortion pill by mail, but postponed any substantive decision. Judges Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would then have complied with the administration’s request.
At the time, there were only eight judges on the court, as Justice Amy Coney Barrett had been nominated but not yet confirmed. Barrett took over the seat of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.