On Friday, the Supreme Court provided a resounding victory for the Biden administration and the abortion rights community, freezing lower-court rulings that placed restrictions on the widely used abortion drug mifepristone.
By doing so, the court has protected access to the drug, ensuring that the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval and subsequent actions that made it more accessible will remain in place during the appeals process.
This decision is particularly significant in the wake of last year’s devastating blow to abortion rights, when the conservative majority in the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade precedent. As the most important abortion-related dispute to reach the high court since then, the final outcome of the medication abortion case could have far-reaching consequences for women’s access to abortion, even in states that still allow the procedure.
Mifepristone, deemed safe and effective by the medical community, has been used by millions of women in the United States over the past two decades. The ongoing litigation could have jeopardized women’s access to the drug, making it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.
President Joe Biden praised the Supreme Court’s decision, stating that mifepristone will remain available and approved for safe and effective use while the fight continues in the courts. He also urged Americans to use their votes to elect a Congress that will restore the protections of Roe v. Wade.
The legal controversy surrounding mifepristone began last November when a group representing doctors who oppose abortion filed a lawsuit against the FDA, claiming that the drug’s safety had not been adequately ensured. However, mainstream medical associations have rebuked these assertions, and the drug has been shown to be safer than common medicines such as penicillin and Viagra.
The Supreme Court’s decision to freeze the lower-court rulings is a crucial victory for abortion rights advocates, women’s health, and the autonomy of the FDA. It demonstrates that, despite setbacks, the fight for reproductive rights continues and that there is still hope for progress in protecting women’s access to safe and effective abortion care.