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Supreme Court rejects restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone

The US Supreme Court has unanimously rejected efforts to limit access to the abortion drug mifepristone.

The decision, which comes two years after the court struck down abortion guarantees nationwide, was welcomed by pro-choice activists.

The justices decided the plaintiffs, a group of doctors and anti-abortion activists, did not have a legal right to sue.

But they left the door open to other efforts to limit the drug’s availability.

Mifepristone is one of two drugs used in medical abortion, which is currently the most popular method of terminating pregnancy in the United States.

The plaintiffs, known as the Hippocratic Medical Alliance, have argued that approval of the drug from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be withdrawn.

But during arguments on the case in March, some of the court’s nine justices appeared skeptical that any plaintiffs had been harmed by the availability of mifepristone – which is needed for legal status. legal way to sue.

“Plaintiffs have sincere legal, moral, and ideological objections to elective abortion and the FDA’s relaxed regulation,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the court. court, “but they failed to prove” any actual injury.

“Plaintiff’s desire to make the drug less available to others does not constitute a basis for action,” he also wrote.

The Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade decision, effectively repealing federal abortion rights, in June 2022. Since then, 21 states have moved to restrict abortion earlier in the pregnancy compared to the standards it has set. Seventeen of them banned the procedure after six weeks or less.

Thursday’s ruling has no impact on these laws – medical abortion remains illegal in states that ban abortion. But abortion pills have acted as an effective solution to the bans, with thousands of pills shipped to restrictive states by mail.

Pro-choice activists are encouraged that access to abortion pills is maintained, but caution that the Supreme Court’s decision is a qualified victory.

At least three states – Missouri, Kansas and Idaho – have also challenged the FDA’s approval of the drug in court. Thursday’s Supreme Court decision does not rule out future challenges.

“This ruling is not a ‘victory’ for abortion, it merely maintains the status quo,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

“The attacks on the abortion pill won’t stop here – the anti-abortion movement sees how important the abortion pill is in this post-Roe world.”

In a statement, President Joe Biden echoed those comments, saying the ruling “does not change the fact that the fight for reproductive freedom continues.”

“The stakes could not be higher for women across America,” he said.

Anti-abortion groups criticized the decision. But these groups also suggest the fight will continue.

“This is a sad day for everyone who values ​​women’s health and the life of the unborn,” said Katie Daniel, state policy director for Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America. “But the fight to stop dangerous mail-order abortion pills is not over.”

Abortion is expected to be the top issue at the ballot box this fall.

Since Roe v Wade was overturned, it has caused problems for some Republicans, caught between an anti-abortion faction and an anti-abortion electorate. Extensive support for procedural access.

In recent months, Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, has called for compromise from his party members, arguing that strict bans are politically costly.

On Thursday morning, speaking before House Republicans, Trump appeared to support exceptions to anti-abortion laws, saying “like Ronald Reagan, you must have three choices: life of the mother, rape and incest”.

He added: “But you have to follow your own heart.”

The two-drug regimen was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in pregnancy up to 10 weeks in 2000. First, a patient was given mifepristone to induce an abortion and then use misoprostol to empty the uterus.

Since 2016, the FDA has loosened access to the drug and allowed doctors to hold virtual appointments with patients and mail prescriptions. More recent approvals are in question in this case.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly two-thirds of abortions in the US today are medical abortions.

During two decades of use, the FDA, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and other mainstream medical organizations have affirmed that both mifepristone and misoprostol are safe to use.

US studies show that medical abortion is about 95% effective in terminating pregnancy and requires less than 1% of additional medical monitoring.


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