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Supreme Court declines to reinstate medical abortion restriction

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to act on a Trump administration request to reinstate a rule mandating that abortion-inducing drugs be taken in the presence of a doctor

Instead, the justices returned the case to a federal trial court in Maryland and gave the judge there 40 days to rule on the administration's request.

The administration is expected to ask the judge to either lift or narrow an order he entered in July that suspended a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule requiring women to take an abortion pill in the presence of a doctor.

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U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, an Obama appointee, agreed in July to temporarily lift the in-person requirement during the health emergency, citing the risks of face-to-face contact.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit from the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as doctors and patients.

Two of the court's more conservative members, Justices Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoFor Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open No thank you, Dr. Fauci MORE and Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasFor Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Defusing the judicial confirmation process Will the Supreme Court take ObamaCare off life-support? MORE, would have granted the administration's request to have the court review the case now.

They also predicted that the judge's order would be "likely to be reversed."

Since 2000, the FDA has required that doctors administer abortion pills in person due to health risks associated with misuse of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. But groups including the American Medical Association say the restriction is outdated and medically unnecessary.