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Warren slams abortion pill access case as ‘partisan politics’ ahead of Supreme Court arguments

Senator Elizabeth WarrenCraig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Days before the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could restrict access to mifepristone, a commonly used abortion pill, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren characterized the case as political and criticized justices appointed by former president Donald Trump as having gone “too far” in their rollback of access to reproductive care.

In a press conference Thursday alongside abortion access advocates in Washington, D.C., Warren said the US Food and Drug Administration has confirmed since 2000 that mifepristone is safe and effective, adding that this case is “purely about partisan politics, not medical science.”

Despite medication abortion being determined safe, Republicans have continually attempted to raise questions about the drug’s safety approval by the FDA.


“They discovered that their extremist agenda is wildly unpopular,” Warren said. “Millions of Americans fought back to protect abortion rights, not just in blue states like Massachusetts, but in red states like Kansas and Kentucky, where voters overwhelmingly voted to keep abortion legal. Now, it’s clear that public opinion is not on the side of the extremists trying to strip away abortion rights. It is on the side of the people who believe access should be there for everyone.”

The top court is scheduled to hear oral arguments next week on whether it will restrict mifepristone, one of two medications used to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks, even in states where abortion remains legal. It will be the first abortion case in front of the court since it overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022.

If the Supreme Court upholds the appeals court ruling, it would strip telehealth access for medication abortion, including mailing mifepristone, and require patients to visit a clinic three times before receiving a medication abortion. A ruling is not expected until this summer.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research organization, reported Tuesday that the number of abortions “in the formal US health care system” in 2023 was 10 percent higher than it was in 2020. Medication abortions accounted for 63 percent of abortions in the US in 2023, up from 53 percent in 2020, the report said.


Earlier this month, Walgreens and CVS announced they would start dispensing mifepristone, including at all of their Massachusetts and Rhode Island pharmacies.

Almost every state where abortions are legal saw an increase in the number of abortions in the last year, including Massachusetts, with data showing the number of abortions in 2023 were 26 percent higher than in 2020, according to the latest research from Guttmacher. States without complete bans on abortions recorded a 25 percent increase in abortions in 2023 compared to 2020, according to Guttmacher.

“I am not at all surprised to see that the numbers are increasing in a post-Dobbs world,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, an executive director of Reproductive Equity Now. “Now that is because women and people who can get pregnant and the providers of abortion care are resilient. We shouldn’t have to be resilient, we should not have to travel for care. We should not have to have pills mailed to our homes from states like Massachusetts.”

In recent years, the debate on abortion rights has spurred voter engagement, which the Biden administration has continued to spotlight ahead of the 2024 election.

Trump signaled Tuesday that he would be open to supporting a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or the protection of the mother’s life.


In December, shortly after the Supreme Court decided to review a ruling that limits access to mifepristone, Governor Maura Healey vowed to ensure that the drug remains available in Massachusetts.

“If unelected judges have the power to rip away FDA-approved drugs for political purposes, what stops them from doing this for other drugs they don’t like, like birth control, emergency contraception, or gender-affirming care,” Warren said.

Alyssa Vega can be reached at alyssa.vega@globe.com.