Justices say women must obtain abortion pill in person

The Supreme Court has ordered that women must visit a doctor’s office, hospital or clinic in person to obtain an abortion pill during the COVID-19 pandemic

The court split 6-3, with the liberal justices in dissent. The new administration could put the in-person requirement on hold after Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang affirmed the suspension of the rule in December, saying public health risks for patients had increased as COVID-19 cases soared.

The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone to be used in combination with a second drug, misoprostol, to end an early pregnancy or manage a miscarriage.

The administration has suspended similar in-person visits for other drugs, including opioids in some cases, but refused to relax the rules for getting the abortion pill.

In October, the Supreme Court allowed women to continue getting the abortion pill by mail but deferred any substantive ruling. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the administration’s request then.

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