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The Supreme Court is set to decide a high-stakes appeal regarding the federal government’s approval process for the drug mifepristone, used in abortions. Reproductive rights are at the forefront of this case, with enormous legal, social, and political implications. Nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the U.S. rely on mifepristone, and the court’s decision could impact millions of women. The FDA is currently allowed to regulate the drug, including telemedicine prescriptions and retail pharmacy dispensing. The case comes after the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion, giving states individual discretion to regulate the procedure.

Anti-abortion groups have challenged the FDA’s approval process for mifepristone, claiming the agency did not fully consider potential health risks to women when revising regulations for the drug. The drug is taken in combination with misoprostol, known as medication abortion. Major pharmacy chains have started dispensing the drug under new rules, with access varying across states. Legal challenges from advocacy groups and members of Congress have been filed on both sides of the issue. The Supreme Court will debate the FDA’s authority and whether those challenging it have standing to sue or would suffer actual harm from the drug’s use.

President Biden and abortion rights groups argue that continued access to mifepristone is essential and a ruling limiting the FDA’s authority could have broader implications for the pharmaceutical industry. The Supreme Court will also hear a challenge to Idaho’s abortion restrictions and other pending court challenges related to abortion rights. The political impact of these decisions could be significant, with previous controversy over the Dobbs decision energizing base and swing voters. The court’s decision in the abortion pill case in June could reignite a divisive referendum on one of the nation’s most controversial social issues, with potential seismic effects heading into the November election.

Overall, the Supreme Court is facing major decisions on abortion issues with far-reaching legal, social, and political implications. The mifepristone case highlights the ongoing debate over reproductive rights in the U.S., with conflicts over FDA approval processes, access to medication abortion, and broader implications for women’s health care. The court’s rulings in these cases could impact millions of individuals and have significant consequences for the upcoming November election. The Supreme Court’s decisions will shape the future of abortion rights in the United States and could have a lasting impact on the country’s social and political landscape.

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