The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a Trump administration request to reinstate restrictions for patients seeking to obtain a drug used to terminate early pregnancies.
The decision, issued over a dissent from the court's liberal judges, reinstates a requirement for patients to pick up the drug, mifepristone, in person. Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration's in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor's office or a hospital.
It's the first abortion-related decision since last year's swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose presence on the high court bench ensured a new conservative majority. Abortion-rights advocates have been fearful of what a conservative majority could do to chip away at legal protections for abortion.
Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, called the court's decision "chilling" and one that "needlessly" endangers "even more people during this dark pandemic winter."
She added that people of color, like Black and Latinx patients, are at particular risk for health risks posed by COVID-19. Requiring them to go to a doctor's office in person to pick up the drug threatens the health and lives of those patients, she said.