On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on court-ordered restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone. The anti-abortion groups are seeking to ban mifepristone, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 and is currently responsible for over 50% of all abortions in the United States.
The FDA’s approval of the drug was said to be flawed by a federal judge earlier this month, leading to a series of appeals and restrictions on access to the drug.
The Supreme Court, which has a conservative-leaning bench, has until midnight on Wednesday to step in. Its ruling will be the most significant intervention on reproductive rights since last year’s ruling that stripped women in America of their constitutional right to termination.
Opponents of the legal attack on the abortion pill include the Department of Justice, which argued that the initial judge’s ruling was based on a “deeply misguided assessment” of the drug’s safety. Mifepristone is part of a two-drug regimen that can be used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and the FDA estimates that 5.6 million Americans have used it to terminate pregnancies since its approval.
Despite opposition, polls show that a clear majority of Americans support continued access to safe abortion, even as conservative groups push to limit or ban the procedure outright.