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The Supreme Court is currently considering the potential overturn of the FDA’s long-standing approval of mifepristone, which could reverse changes made in 2016 to make medication abortion more accessible to patients. This move has sparked concerns among experts like Harry Nelson, a health care attorney, who views the idea of courts overriding the FDA as a drastic and radical step.

Mifepristone, along with misoprostol, is a combination of drugs approved by the FDA for medication abortion. The medication is specifically designed as a one-dose pill for patients up to 10 weeks pregnant, impacting the hormone progesterone crucial in menstruation and pregnancy. Over two decades of research and more than 100 peer-reviewed publications support the safety and effectiveness of medication abortion, according to Ushma Upadhyay, a public health scientist.

Apart from its use in medication abortions, mifepristone also serves other medical purposes such as treating miscarriages, uterine fibroids, and Cushing’s syndrome. Without access to mifepristone, patients may have to resort to riskier options like taking misoprostol alone or undergoing surgical procedures. This underscores the importance of maintaining access to mifepristone for a variety of reproductive health care needs.

The potential repercussions of the Supreme Court’s decision extend beyond just abortion access, as it could disrupt the drug approval process and limit people’s access to safe medications. Recent research reveals a significant increase in self-managed medication abortions following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, highlighting the importance of ensuring access to safe and legal reproductive health care options. Telehealth abortion services have also emerged as a crucial resource for patients in need of time-sensitive care, especially considering the FDA’s restrictions on the use of mifepristone up to 10 weeks.

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