The US Supreme Court preserves full access to the abortion pill – 06/13/2024 at 11:06 p.m.

The US Supreme Court preserves full access to the abortion pill – 06/13/2024 at 11:06 p.m.
The US Supreme Court preserves full access to the abortion pill – 06/13/2024 at 11:06 p.m.

A box of mifepristone (RU 486), used in nearly two thirds of abortions in the United States, during a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court, March 26, 2024 in Washington (AFP / Drew ANGERER)

The US Supreme Court on Thursday restored full access to the abortion pill, which the fiercest opponents of abortion wanted to restrict, but President Joe Biden called for people not to let their guard down in the face of their attacks.

In their unanimous judgment, the nine judges of the court with a conservative majority deny the “interest in taking action”, a condition for taking legal action, of the plaintiffs — associations of doctors or practitioners hostile to abortion who do not prescribe or use the pill mifepristone, used in the majority of abortions in the country.

They therefore annul the appeal decision, which they had suspended anyway.

An appeals court, made up of ultraconservative judges, had reinstated in 2023 several of the restrictions on access to mifepristone, a pill used for medical abortions, lifted by the American Medicines Agency (FDA) since 2016.

“The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the relaxation of the FDA rules would likely harm them in fact,” wrote in his decision, on behalf of the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“For this reason, the federal courts are not the appropriate avenue to address plaintiffs’ concerns about the FDA’s actions,” he adds, noting that they can refer them to the executive or legislative branch.

Democratic President Joe Biden, who made protecting the right to abortion a focus of his campaign for the November election against his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, took note of the decision but stressed that “the fight continues “.

“This decision does not change the fact that millions of Americans today live under cruel abortion bans because of Donald Trump,” added his vice-president Kamala Harris. “Nor the threats on medical abortions,” she added.

The Supreme Court of the United States, in Washington, June 13, 2024 (AFP / SAUL LOEB)

By its historic judgment of June 2022 canceling the federal guarantee of the right to abortion, the Supreme Court gave states full latitude to legislate in this area. Since then, around twenty have banned abortion (voluntary prohibition of pregnancy), whether carried out by medication or surgery, or have strictly regulated it.

Donald Trump prides himself on having, through his appointments of three conservative judges to the Supreme Court, enabled the reversal of jurisprudence of June 2022.

– “Ready for everything” –

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research center with authoritative studies, said it was “relieved” that the Supreme Court had made “the only reasonable decision” possible on mifepristone, but lamented that this complaint “in bad faith and without factual or scientific basis” was not rejected well before.

“We must remain vigilant. The anti-abortion movement relentlessly pursues its goal of banning abortion nationwide,” added Destiny Lopez, co-president of the Guttmacher Institute.

Pro-abortion activists in front of the United States Supreme Court, April 15, 2023 in Washington (AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

The president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northup, welcomed the decision, but also said that “this baseless case should never have gotten this far.”

“Unfortunately, the attacks on abortion pills will not stop there,” she warned, stressing that the anti-abortion movement was “ready to do anything to block access to them.”

The conservative Christian organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represented the plaintiffs, said it was “disappointed that the Court did not rule on the merits of the FDA’s illegitimate actions,” but reaffirmed that the relief from Rules decided by the agency endanger women’s health.

Citing potential risks that have been ruled out by scientific consensus, the appeal decision, if confirmed, would have reduced the limit of ten weeks of pregnancy to seven, prohibited the sending of the tablets by post and made the delivery of the tablets compulsory once again. prescription exclusively by a doctor.

Nearly two-thirds of abortions (63%) in the United States in 2023 were performed medically, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

On another front in the battle for reproductive rights, Republican senators on Thursday blocked a Democratic bill to protect access to in vitro fertilization (IVF).

“Trump’s friends in the Senate are showing once again that they do not recognize women’s fundamental right to make decisions for their health and their own bodies,” responded Kamala Harris.

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