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US: Supreme Court maintains access to abortion pill

The US Supreme Court preserved on Thursday access to the abortion pill, used in nearly two-thirds of abortions nationwide, thus handing President Joe Biden’s administration a victory in their fight for abortion rights.

The bid to restrict access to mifepristone was pushed for by anti-abortion groups and some doctors.

The pill, often used alongside a second drug, misoprostol, blocks the hormone progesterone and primes the uterus to respond to contractions caused by the latter drug. Both drugs are used hand-in-hand to end pregnancies through 10 weeks of gestation.

Health care providers say that restrictions on mifepristone would force them to solely rely on misoprostol, arguing that this could make the non-invasive procedure to end pregnancies early less effective.

What did the court say?

Thursday’s verdict at the Supreme Court was a unanimous 9-0 ruling. The judges found that the plaintiffs should have taken their concerns about the drug and its expanded use in recent years to regulators directly rather than to the courts.

“We recognize that many citizens, including the plaintiff doctors here, have sincere concerns about and objections to others using mifepristone and obtaining abortions,” said Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“But citizens and doctors do not have standing to sue simply because others are allowed to engage in certain activities,” Kavanaugh said. “The plaintiffs lack standing to challenge FDA’s actions.”

Kavanaugh argued that the federal courts were “the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions,” suggesting they instead present their objections through regulatory procedures or through the “political and electoral processes.”

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