(Washington) The abortion pill will remain authorized in the United States for the time being after a judgment by a federal appeals court, which however decided to severely restrict its conditions of access.
Three visits to the doctor, an authorization limited to the first seven weeks of pregnancy, a ban on sending the pill by mail… A panel of three judges based in the conservative South imposed strict conditions Wednesday evening on the distribution of mifepristone .
But the future of this pill, at the center of bitter legal battles, should ultimately be decided before the Supreme Court.
With potentially immense consequences on access to abortion: combined with another pill, mifepristone, authorized more than 20 years ago by the American Medicines Agency (FDA), is used for more than half of abortions in the United States.
Last week, a judge appointed by Donald Trump, known for his ultraconservative views, withdrew his marketing authorization. Despite the scientific consensus, it considered that mifepristone posed risks to the health of women and suspended its authorization for the entire United States.
He had planned a one-week delay before his decision would apply, to give the federal government time to appeal.
The administration of Democratic President Joe Biden had asked a New Orleans appeals court to intervene to block the “ extraordinary and unprecedented ” judgment of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, “ pending the merits review ” of the case.
In its appeal, the government recalled that more than 5 million women have used mifepristone, combined with another tablet, since its authorization by the FDA in 2000. When it is taken correctly, serious side effects are extremely rare, pleaded- he.
The decision of the court of appeal does not, however, give reason to the Biden administration, since it considerably limits access to this pill.
“Everyone should be deeply concerned about the effect this decision will have on their health, their lives, and those of their loved ones,” warned the powerful civil rights association ACLU.
The decision will not completely satisfy opponents of voluntary terminations of pregnancy, who are campaigning for its total ban.
It is therefore extremely likely that the Supreme Court will be seized to decide on this case.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre also indicated on Thursday that the executive intended to “continue to fight in court”. “We believe the law is on our side, and we will prevail. »
Since its reshuffle by Donald Trump, the Supreme Court is now dominated by conservatives. It was this institution that canceled the constitutional protection of abortion last June, provoking its ban in fifteen states.
The future of this cachet is therefore very uncertain.
At the same time, a coalition of Democratic states went to another court at the end of February to try to preserve this pill.
Less than an hour after Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision, one of his colleagues, Judge Thomas Rice, appointed by Barack Obama and sitting in the State of Washington, had deemed that mifepristone was “ safe and effective ” and had prohibited the FDA to withdraw its approval in the 17 appealing states.