US Supreme Court rejects telehealth for abortion drug

The US Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate in person requirements for abortion medication, mifepristone, during the pandemic. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, lower courts have blocked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s regulations that require mifepristone to be dispensed at a clinic, hospital, or medical office, finding these rules to be a substantial obstacle. Lower courts’ decision enabled women to use telehealth to consult with their healthcare provider and receive mifepristone in mail. The Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts noted in the opinion that the question is not whether the in person requirements for dispensing mifepristone impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion, but whether the district court properly ordered the FDA to lift the requirements based on the court’s own evaluation of the impact of the pandemic. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent that the government relaxed many regulations around in person mandates for other drugs.