The Crisis over Abortion Pills in the United States and its many Faces

Amid the polarization over reproductive rights, there is an abortion crisis in the United States that is multifaceted and appears to be dragging on.

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LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: La crisis por las pastillas de aborto en Estados Unidos y sus múltiples caras

This year is marked by an evident fight by the conservative sector in the United States to limit the reproductive rights of people who can gestate and the free expression rights of drag queens and transgender people. In June last year, Roe vs. Wade guaranteed abortion freedom in the United States. This drastically changed the landscape because it opened up the possibility for each State to legislate individually on abortion. Since then, the bills to prohibit abortion in all its instances have advanced.

Last Friday, April 7th, Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal judge from Texas, suspended the FDA's approval of mifepristone, which is the primary method of abortion in the North American country. This ruling has set off alarm bells because it can be taken as an example in other states to limit access to abortion for millions of pregnant people, whether they live in a state with limited or open reproductive rights.

What is Mifepristone?

This generic drug was first approved in 2000 by the FDA. It is a medication that blocks progesterone, the hormone primarily responsible for developing and maintaining the uterus during pregnancy. Along with this pill, misoprostol is also taken, which is used to empty the uterus.

The abortive method must be applied during the first ten weeks of pregnancy for it to take effect, and it has already been shown that it is entirely safe for those who consume it. Its effectiveness has a rate of 95% and only requires medical follow-up in 1% of cases.

Also read: What is the protocol to access an abortion in Colombia?

Alliance Defending Freedom was the Christian legal group charged with bringing the case, which claimed the FDA rushed and abused its authority in approving the drug. The judge ruled that the initial approval and prescribing of them was illegal. He also stated that the studies were wrong, without evidence supporting his decision.

The Country's Reproductive Rights at Risk

This ruling puts the reproductive rights of the country and the most liberal states at stake because Kacsmarzyk issued a nationwide court order. This implies that if by Friday, April 14, no higher court has issued a suspension order, the sentence will begin to apply throughout the national territory. Considering that the Supreme Court of Justices annulled Roe v. Waden, the outlook for reproductive rights looks bleak.

The Faces of Abortion in America

According to the Pew Research Center report "What the Data Says About Abortion in the US," public opinion on abortion in the United States remains polarized. Approximately 62% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most cases, while 36% think it should be illegal in most or all issues. These figures have remained relatively stable in recent years.

This allows us to see that despite the majority of the population favoring the legalization of abortion, the decisions are made by people who seek its prohibition. It is a paradoxical scenario. The same report shows that the number of abortions has been reduced in recent years, thanks to the democratization of sexual education and the opportunities and accompaniment provided by the State.

For groups defending reproductive rights and the health of pregnant people, these measures seriously limit access to abortion and endanger the lives of those who do not wish to become pregnant. Additionally, this can also have a significant impact on low-income women and marginalized communities. According to experts, pregnant people in these communities often have less access to sexual and reproductive education and may face additional barriers to obtaining medical care and abortion services.

A clear example is the crisis on the border between Mexico and Texas. Thousands of women crossed the wall to access medicines like mifepristone, which they probably won't be able to access again.

At the same time, there are hundreds of clinics and support centers harassed every day by conservative people who come to places to pray or convince (sometimes kindly and most violently) that patients Do not access these services.

We are undoubtedly facing a fight for reproductive rights that seems to be losing. The Biden administration has tried to block state bills, but the efforts have been in vain. This violation of the right to the decision over one's own body shows the volatile moment the United States is going through and reveals the need for conservatives to overcome anyone who disagrees with them.

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