Washington: US President Joe Biden pledged to continue fighting “politically driven attacks on women’s health” after the Supreme Court on Friday preserved access to a widely used abortion drug until a lower court rules on the legal fight.
If the justices had upheld a restriction on mifepristone imposed by a lower court, it would have undermined the US Food and Drug Administration’s medical judgment and its two-decade approval for the drug, and put women’s health at risk.
“The stakes could not be higher for women across America,” Biden said in a statement. “I continue to stand by FDA’s evidence-based approval of mifepristone, and my administration will continue to defend FDA’s independent, expert authority to review, approve, and regulate a wide range of prescription drugs.”
Mifepristone will remain available as the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals from the Biden Administration and Danco Laboratories, which makes the drug.
The ruling provided at least a temporary victory for abortion rights supporters after the court last year overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that ensured a constitutional right to an abortion.
Mifepristone in combination with another drug called misoprostol is the most common way to terminate a pregnancy in the US, accounting for around half of abortions, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients can still end a pregnancy by using just misoprostol, the second pill in the protocol. However, the side effects of nausea and vomiting can be more severe.
Biden also pointed to the political stakes of the issue and vowed to continue pushing to preserve abortion access.
“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,” he said.