The US Supreme Court is due to decide on Friday whether the abortion pill mifepristone with the active ingredient of the same name should continue to be approved or not. The verdict is eagerly awaited, set to be the most significant abortion ruling since the end of Roe v. Wade last June is the speech. However, the ongoing legal battle could also impact access to abortion pills in an entirely different country.
In France, abortion pills are said to be in short supply at pharmacies in some regions of the country. There should also be difficulties with repeat orders. "OTMeds", an observatory for transparency in drug policy, family planning centers and some politicians have been pointing this out for several weeks, according to reports from "France24".
About 70 percent of all abortions in France are performed with drugs. A combination of mifepristone and misoprostol is taken at a later time. The abortion pills used in France mostly come from the USA, from the manufacturer Nordic Pharma. A shortage of raw materials has been said to have been hampering the delivery of medicines for some time. In addition, some Democratic states in the United States are now stockpiling their own pills, sometimes for several years in advance, in case the Supreme Court decides to limit access nationwide. At the same time, they are looking for ways to still be able to use the pills in such a case. A possible restriction could also apply to US states, where abortions are generally permitted. The situation in the US could therefore create a bottleneck in France, France's High Council for Equality between Men and Women (HCE) warned this week.
Île-de-France, the region around Paris, is said to be particularly affected by the shortage. Sandrine Rousseau, MP for the Green Party, wrote on Twitter: "Abortion is a right, now it is threatened by a shortage of abortion pills." Just last month, Emmanuel Macron announced that he wanted to enshrine the right to abortion in the French constitution. Rousseau also linked French Minister of Health, François Braun, in her post and asked him directly what he was doing to uphold this right for women. He emphasized to the French radio station "RMC" that there are "tensions" but no bottlenecks with mifepristone. With this description he downplays the actual situation, the observatory "OTMeds" criticized him. The Ministry of Health announced this week that it would import abortion pills from Italy.
A few weeks ago, a Texas court suspended the approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, which had been granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. Opponents of abortion had sued against it. According to media reports, about every second abortion in the USA is to be carried out with the help of mifepristone. The drug is also used for abortions in other countries, including Germany.
After the verdict from Texas, an appeals court again decided in favor of approval, but with restrictions: the drug should only be allowed to be taken up to the seventh week of pregnancy instead of the tenth week. The US government, together with the pharmaceutical company Danco Laboratories, had filed an urgent application with the Supreme Court to contest the verdict. As the highest authority, he must now decide on access to the drug. The Court of Justice had previously suspended the judgments of the previous instances until further notice, until it comes to a final decision, mifepristone is accessible. Last week and this week, the Supreme Court twice postponed the decision. The verdict is expected to come on Friday.
Sources: France 24 I, France 24 II, France Info, tagesschau, tagesschau II, New York Times