WASHINGTON- The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that women must visit a hospital, doctor’s clinic or office in person to obtain an abortion pill during the pandemic. However, similar rules for other drugs have been restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A week before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, the justices granted a Trump government appeal to enforce a prevailing rule on getting the abortion pill, named mifepristone. Taking this pill does not require the presence of a medical professional.
The court split 6-3, with the liberal justices in disagreement. The new administration could put the in-person requirement on hold after Joe Biden enters the White House on Jan. 20.
The federal judge had restricted the rule since July, because of the COVID-19. The suspension was in answer to a lawsuit from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other groups.
Theodore Chuang, the U.S District Judge, declared the rule’s suspension in November. Also, stating that the public health risks for patients had increased as coronavirus cases continue to mount.
The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone to be used with a second drug, misoprostol, to manage a miscarriage or end an early pregnancy.
The administration has restricted similar in-person visits for several other drugs, including opioids in some cases. But refused to moderate the rules for getting the abortion pill.
In October, the Supreme Court allowed women for obtaining the abortion pill by mail but delayed any substantive ruling. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said they would have accorded the administration’s request then.
There were only eight justices on the Supreme Court, as Justice Amy Coney Barret had been nominated, but not yet fixed. Amy took the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in August.