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The Supreme Court building is seen on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The Latest | The US Supreme Court rules to preserve access to abortion pill mifepristone

The Latest | The US Supreme Court rules to preserve access to abortion pill mifepristone
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously to preserve access to the abortion pill mifepristone, a pill used in the most common way to end a pregnancy. The medication was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the United States last year.
The ruling is the court’s first abortion decision since conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago.
The justices ruled that abortion opponents lacked the legal right to sue over the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the medication, mifepristone, and the FDA’s subsequent actions to ease access to it.
The case had threatened to restrict access to mifepristone across the country, including in states where abortion remains legal.


Currently:


— The US Supreme Court just ruled on Mifepristone. How safe is the abortion pill?
— A common abortion pill will come before the US Supreme Court. Here’s how mifepristone works
— What is the case about? The central dispute was whether the Food and Drug Administration overlooked serious safety problems when it made mifepristone easier to obtain


Here’s the latest:


How the case ended up at the US Supreme CourtThe mifepristone case began five months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion opponents initially won a sweeping ruling nearly a year ago from U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump nominee in Texas, that would have revoked the drug’s approval entirely.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals left intact the FDA’s initial approval of mifepristone, but it would reverse changes regulators made in 2016 and 2021 that eased some conditions for administering the drug.


The Supreme Court put the appeals court’s modified ruling on hold and agreed to hear the case.

However, Justices Samuel Alito — the author of the decision overturning Roe — and Clarence Thomas would have allowed some restrictions to take effect while the case proceeded.


Here’s what each side argued in the case

Health care providers have said that if mifepristone is no longer available or is too hard to obtain, they would switch to using only misoprostol, which is somewhat less effective in ending pregnancies.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration and drug manufacturers had warned that siding with abortion opponents in the case could undermine the FDA’s drug approval process beyond the abortion context by inviting judges to second-guess the agency’s scientific judgments. The Democratic administration and New York-based Danco Laboratories, which makes mifepristone, argued that the drug is among the safest the FDA has ever approved.


The abortion opponents argued in court papers that the FDA’s decisions in 2016 and 2021 to relax restrictions on getting the drug were unreasonable and “jeopardize women’s health across the nation.”

FILE – Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 16, 2022. The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 13, 2024, unanimously preserved access to the medication that was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the U.S. last year, in the court’s first abortion decision since conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)


What is Mifepristone?

More than 6 million people have used mifepristone since 2000. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone and primes the uterus to respond to the contraction-causing effect of a second drug, misoprostol. The two-drug regimen has been used to end a pregnancy through 10 weeks gestation.
US Supreme Court rules to preserve access to abortion medicationThe Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously preserved access to a medication that was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the U.S. last year, in the court’s first abortion decision since conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago.
The justices ruled that abortion opponents lacked the legal right to sue over the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the medication, mifepristone, and the FDA’s subsequent actions to ease access to it.
The case had threatened to restrict access to mifepristone across the country, including in states where abortion remains legal.

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