(TheRedWire.com) – On Wednesday, a federal appeals court declined to block approval of the abortion pill mifepristone but has allowed for certain restrictions to remain in place that would potentially stop it from being sent to patients through the mail.
The decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to partially block the decision made by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk leaves many questions about the future availability of the drug, in a case that might make it to the Supreme Court. The court also granted the Justice Department’s emergency request that would pause part of the decision which suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s original approval of mifepristone, which came more than two decades earlier in 2000.
However, the three-judge panel also determined that part of Kacsmaryk’s decision, which suspended some of the changes the FDA made to the distribution and approval of the drug, could go into effect. The panel also paused the agency’s approval which allowed mifepristone to be distributed by mail in 2021.
This decision would mean that patients would be required to schedule an in-person visit in order to gain access to the drug. The 2016 change also reduced the number of in-person visits required for the acquisition of the pills from three to one. This allowed women to be prescribed the pill for up to 10 weeks gestation instead of seven weeks.
Abortion rights groups have criticized the appeals court for not completely blocking Kacsmaryk’s ruling in its entirety.
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