What’s next for ‘abortion pills’ after SCOTUS ruling?

Health

In this photo illustration, a person looks at an Abortion Pill (RU-486) for unintended pregnancy from Mifepristone displayed on a smartphone on May 8, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. – One week after Sally realized she was pregnant, her home state Texas temporarily banned abortions, deeming them unnecessary elective procedures that were suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.So, the 34-year-old, whose name has been changed for this story to protect her privacy, took matters into her own hands — something she never would have considered in the past. Having split with her boyfriend, she decided to buy pills on the internet, and perform her own abortion at home. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will work to “protect and advance reproductive freedom,” following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

After the opinion, many were left wondering where that leaves so-called “abortion pills,” like Mifeprex (mifepristone) — which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medication abortions.

According to the agency, it’s used with another medication, misoprostol, to end an early pregnancy — one through 70 days of gestation.

The FDA first approved Mifeprex in 2000.

Garland said in a statement that the agency would protect providers and those seeking abortions in states where it is legal. He also said he would stand by the use of Mifepristone.

More than 90% of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

The decision of whether to allow abortion access now falls to individual states, 13 of which already had so-called trigger laws in place to ban abortion. Among those states poised to criminalize the act of providing abortion are: Kentucky, Louisiana, South Dakota, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

The ruling came more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take the step.

Joining Alito were Thomas and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett. The last three justices are Trump appointees. Thomas first voted to overrule Roe 30 years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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