The Supreme Court has once again delayed a ruling on the abortion pill, allowing the drug mifepristone stay on the market for now.
Justice Samuel Alito had previously delayed a decision on the pill's restrictions until Wednesday, but he pushed it again to midnight Friday, giving the Supreme Court more time to weigh a consequential dispute on the legal status of a drug that is used in roughly half of abortions in the country.
The Biden administration has furiously protested even the most modest restrictions on access to mifepristone, which Biden made available by mail during the COVID pandemic.
The issue has been thrown into confusion by dueling court rulings.
A Trump-appointed judge in Texas caused a national furor when he issued a nationwide injunction blocking the pill, but an Obama judge issued a ruling in defense of the pill.
The 5th Circuit Appeals court then gave a split decision that upheld the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) original approval while also maintaining restrictions on the pill's distribution, such as by mail.
The court also limited the pill's use to seven weeks instead of ten.
The FDA's challengers question the agency's determination that the pill is "safe and effective," and they say the FDA did not follow the law when it approved the drug using an accelerated process originally meant to treat serious, deadly illnesses like AIDS.
Mifepristone kills the unborn child by blocking the hormone progesterone. Another drug, misoprostol, induces contractions to force the murdered baby out of the mother.
The Biden administration has vigorously defended the FDA and its vaunted expertise, joining pro-abortion groups and pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer.
The administration's Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, says restricting women from getting mail-order abortions would be catastrophic.
"Absent a stay, the lower courts' unprecedented nationwide orders would scramble the regulatory regime governing a drug that FDA determined was safe and effective under the approved conditions and that has been used by more than five million American women over the last two decades," she said.
The Supreme Court last year overturned Roe v. Wade, making clear that there is no right to an abortion in the Constitution and opening the door to abortion restrictions at the state level. Wyoming became the first state in the nation to ban abortion pills last month.