Justice Department asks Supreme Court to ensure access to abortion pill

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an amicus brief on Monday calling on the Supreme Court to protect access to the abortion pill, mifepristone, which is used in medication abortions. In the brief, the department argued that blocking access to the abortion pill harms women’s healthcare rights and violates the standard established by the court in its 2016 Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision.

The Supreme Court case, June Medical Services v. Russo, deals with a 2014 Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where an abortion is provided. The law is similar to one in Texas that the Supreme Court struck down four years ago. The court found that such restrictions should only be upheld if there is a definite health benefit.

The Justice Department’s amicus brief argued that blocking access to the abortion pill constituted a “significant burden” on women, and should therefore not be allowed under the Whole Women’s Health standard. The brief also argued that the restrictions are in violation of the government’s “constitutional obligation to protect the right of all citizens to make their own healthcare decisions.” The department further urged the court to afford proper and adequate consideration of the need to protect access to the abortion pill when ruling on the case.