The Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that allowed the Trump administration to restrict access to an abortion pill. The plea, if successful, would pave the way for a broader government crackdown on the procedure.
The Justice Department asked the high court on Sunday to hear the case and reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which found that the administration had unconstitutionally barred access to medication abortions for Americans by imposing a “political agenda” on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The administration had argued that the FDA had insufficient evidence to support its decision to allow the abortion pill to be sold without a prescription, even though medical evidence has shown it to be safe and effective.
If the Supreme Court were to hear the case, it would be the first time in 20 years the court has addressed a challenge to access to abortion. It would also be the first time the court has considered a challenge to the Trump administration’s anti-abortion policies.
The Justice Department’s plea is the latest step in a long-running fight between the White House and women’s health advocates over the availability of the abortion pill. The medication in question, mifepristone, is used in combination with another drug, misoprostol, to end an early pregnancy. It is considered a safe, non-invasive method of terminating a pregnancy up to 10 weeks.