(Washington) The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday decided to maintain access for now to an abortion pill used for more than half of abortions in the country, suspending restrictions decided by lower courts and offering respite temporary to abortion rights defenders.

The federal government had seized the high court urgently to have these judgments suspended, which the temple of law granted. Only two conservative judges of the Court, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, expressed their disagreement on Friday with the decision taken by the majority of the nine judges of the college.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that American women will be able to continue to receive mifepristone, the name of the abortion pill, by post in states where abortion remains legal.

This is the most important intervention by the Court on the question of abortion since it canceled the constitutional guarantee to abortion in June 2022.

But the legal battle around the abortion pill will continue, unleashing strong passions.

Avoiding open celebration of this stage victory, President Joe Biden immediately reacted to an announcement blocking for the moment measures “that would have undermined the medical judgment of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and endangered the women’s health”.

“Mifepristone remains available and approved for safe and effective use as we continue this battle in court,” he added in a statement.

The director of a clinic performing abortions in Minnesota, Tammi Kromenaker, who like many activists was anxiously awaiting the decision, expressed her “relief” to AFP.

“This is good news but the facts remain the same: access to mifepristone should never have been threatened in the first place,” tweeted family planning organization Planned Parenthood.

More than five million American women have taken mifepristone since it was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago.

The legal puzzle began when a federal judge in Texas, known for his Christian faith, his ultra-conservative positions and appointed by Donald Trump, on April 7 withdrew the marketing authorization for mifepristone after having was seized by anti-abortion activists.

Despite the scientific consensus, he felt that it posed health risks to women.

An appeals court in New Orleans, seized by the federal government, then allowed the abortion pill to remain authorized, but limited the access facilities granted by the FDA over the years.

His judgment amounted to prohibiting the mailing of mifepristone and returning to use limited to seven weeks of pregnancy, instead of ten.

The federal government then rushed to the Supreme Court. The latter temporarily maintained access to the abortion pill a week ago, suspending the decision of the court of appeal in order to have more time to examine the file.

Further complicating the matter, a federal judge sitting in Washington state, appointed by Barack Obama, had ruled immediately after his colleague’s decision in Texas that mifepristone was “safe and effective” and had prohibited the FDA from withdrawing its approval in 17 states and in the capital.

The first suspension decided by the Supreme Court was valid until Wednesday just before midnight. But a likely sign of disagreements around the issue, Judge Samuel Alito said Wednesday that it was extended by 48 hours, until “11:59 p.m. Friday, April 21”.

The Court could, at its option, decide to suspend the decisions of the lower courts, uphold them, take up the case or, on the contrary, refuse to get involved.

A coalition of anti-abortion doctors had urged the high court on Tuesday to leave the appeals court ruling in place, saying mifepristone was risky to women’s health.

The abortion pill is no longer officially available in some fifteen American states that have recently banned abortion, even if roundabout routes have been developed. The impact of restrictions or a ban on this pill would therefore primarily concern states where abortion remains legal – for many Democrats.

Even in neighboring Canada, the case has caused concern. Canadian Family Minister Karina Gould reiterated that her country intends to help American women if necessary.

“We remain very committed to making sure we can support American women if they need that access here,” she told CTV Thursday.