The fight over reproductive rights in America is set to shift to a new dimension, namely abortion-inducing pills, as conservative US states enact abortion bans following the Supreme Court’s bombshell decision.

With little other means at its disposal, the Biden administration will focus on expanding access to abortion pills for women living in states where the procedure is banned or restricted — while those states and powerful conservative groups are sure to mount legal challenges to prohibit their use.

Hours after the high court shredded 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion rights on Friday, President Joe Biden ordered health officials to make sure abortion pills were available to American women.

“I will do all in my power to protect a woman’s right in states where they will face the consequences of today’s decision,” he said in a televised address to the nation.

The abortion pills, which can be used without significant risk to terminate a pregnancy up to 10 weeks’ gestation, already account for half of all abortions carried out in the United States.

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Demand is set to soar further after 11 states mostly in the Republican-led conservative South moved to severely restrict or fully ban abortion, with others set to follow suit.

Protest against abortion ban

Already Saturday, some activists rallying outside the Supreme Court in the US capital Washington held up posters with instructions on where women can get abortion pills, while others chanted “My body, my choice.”

Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician who runs Aid Access, an Austria-based organization that provides abortion pills over the internet, is confident that the situation now faced by American women is not as tragic as it was 50 years ago, before the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling of 1973 that enshrined abortion rights in America.

“The abortion pills cannot be stopped,” Gomperts told AFP in a phone interview. “So there is always access to a safe abortion if a woman has an unwanted pregnancy.”

But after Friday’s ruling, that may be easier said than done.

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