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Abortion pill mifepristone is approved in more than 90 countries

A Supreme Court decision to preserve access to the abortion drug mifepristone, used in the majority of abortions in the United States, has highlighted the country’s position when it comes to reproductive health. The Court’s decision is temporary and allows an appeals court to consider a challenge to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug over 20 years ago. The ruling runs counter to the rapidly accepted use of medication abortions performed with mifepristone and misoprostol, a combination pill. At least 94 countries have approved mifepristone to some degree, with no other country revoking approval. The use of medication alone for abortions has risen to 87% in England and Wales, with Argentina the latest country to approve the drug. The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed telemedicine as a safe option for self-managed abortions when it is available, but this does not necessarily mean that access is widespread. Access to safe abortion services lowers the rate of women turning to unsafe, potentially life-threatening illegal options. Globally, unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal death, according to the WHO. The US decision means that the country is becoming a “pariah on the global stage” in terms of access to safe abortions using recommended methods, according to Ann Moore, principal research scientist at the Washington-based Guttmacher Institute that advocates for reproductive rights.

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