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LA's Reproductive Health Care Providers Prepare For Potential Abortion Pill Ban

Abortion rights demonstrators leave banners at a fence outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington
Abortion rights demonstrators left banners at a fence outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on May 14, 2022.
(Jose Luis Magana
AFP via Getty Images)
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Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mifepristone can stay on the market for now. The drug is used in early-stage abortions and to manage miscarriages. Earlier this month, a Texas judge sought to invalidate the pill’s long-standing approval.

Mifepristone is used in more than half of abortions in the U.S., and was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration more than two decades ago. But legal challenges relating to it are expected to again come before the high court as early as next year. The pivotal case will continue to work its way through the courts.

“The ruling goes into effect so long as litigation is ongoing and you know, the full case might take years to develop or at least many months,” said UCLA law professor Blake Emerson. “It's possible that once the case actually gets fully litigated and works its way through the courts, it would come out to an opposite result,” he said.

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California voters passed a constitutional amendment last November protecting the right to an abortion, but a federal abortion pill ban would supersede it. That’s left providers in Los Angeles preparing for an abortion pill ban.

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles President Sue Dunlap told LAist they are stockpiling both mifepristone and misoprostol. The drugs are used in combination to induce abortions and manage miscarriages.

“We've also ordered all of the supplies that we need to open another two surgical sites in Los Angeles, just so that we would have those on hand as we move forward,” Dunlap said. “Back before Roe [v. Wade] was overturned, there's no way I or this organization would have done that. But today we're being very intentional in terms of looking towards the future that may have.”

California and other liberal states are also stockpiling misoprostol pills.

“The desire or desperation for care isn't going away. So as we see the landscape change, what I'm very mindful of is that Los Angeles is a place that people have to know they can turn to,” Dunlap said.

By a 64%-to-35% margin, respondents to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Monday said they oppose laws banning access to medication abortion,. You can read more on the poll here.

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