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SCOTUS weighs in on abortion case—leaves it to Fifth Circuit for now. : NPR

The US Supreme Court has blocked lower court decisions that would have limited or banned the use of mifepristone, a widely-used medical abortion drug, for the foreseeable future. The case was originally brought to the high court after a federal judge found that the FDA had improperly approved the medication 23 years ago. The justices left the issue in the hands of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has scheduled oral arguments in the case for May 17. However, the outcome is expected to be appealed, which may result in a decision from the Supreme Court next term. The current ruling means that, for the present, mifepristone will be widely available, at least in states where abortion is legal for up to ten weeks. The case arose after a nationwide ban was imposed on the drug, but within minutes of that decision, a contrary ruling was issued. There is little likelihood that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will substantially change its view, regardless of the outcome of oral arguments. Both the FDA and Danco, makers of the leading brand name for mifepristone, Mifeprex, argue that the medication is safe for use up to ten weeks of pregnancy and that the Fifth Circuit’s decision would create regulatory chaos across the country.

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