US Supreme Court preserves women’s access to abortion pill mifepristone at center of legal fight

Women’s access to a widely used abortion pill in the US has been maintained by the Supreme Court during an ongoing legal battle over the drug.

The justices agreed to stay or pause a lower court decision imposing restrictions on the availability of mifepristone during a challenge by anti-abortion groups to its federal regulatory approval.

Mifepristone, which was licensed in 2000, is used in combination with a second drug, misoprostol, and accounts for more than half of all abortions in the US.

President Joe Biden hailed the high court for keeping the pill available while the court fight continues.

“As a result of the Supreme Court’s stay, mifepristone remains available and approved for safe and effective use while we continue this fight in the courts,” Mr Biden said in a statement.

“The stakes could not be higher for women across America. I will continue to fight politically-driven attacks on women’s health.

“But let’s be clear – the American people must continue to use their vote as their voice, and elect a Congress who will pass a law restoring the protections of Roe v Wade.”

His administration is seeking to defend mifepristone in the face of mounting abortion bans and restrictions imposed by Republican-led states since the Supreme Court in June 2022 overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that had legalized the procedure nationwide.

Opponents argue the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) illegally approved mifepristone and then removed critical safeguards on what they describe as a dangerous drug.

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