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Across the country, abortion rights advocates rally in support of abortion pill access

Demonstrators rally in support of abortion rights at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators rally in support of abortion rights at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

Abortion rights supporters around the country and in the nation's capital are holding rallies Saturday and Sunday against the decision by a Texas judge to reverse the FDA's approval of a key abortion drug.

Portions of U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's nationwide injunction blocking mifepristone's approval would have gone into effect on Saturday had the Supreme Court not stayed the decision Friday afternoon.

Nothing has changed yet, and it's unclear which states would be covered by the ruling if the Supreme Court declines to block it past this coming Wednesday, when the current stay expires.

On the steps of the Supreme Court on Saturday at a rally organized by Planned Parenthood, doctors and patients voiced outrage at the decision and shared their experiences with abortion as counterprotesters continuously shouted "abortion is murder."

"These judges aren't doctors and neither are they," Laura Meyers, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, said at the rally, pointing at the anti-abortion-rights protesters nearby.

Medication abortions now account for more than half of U.S. abortions, making them increasingly the focus of the legal fight over abortion rights. They're also more discreet and affordable than other forms of abortion.

Several doctors who spoke in Washington said medical professionals can't provide high-quality, evidence-based care where abortion restrictions are in effect. Dr. Divya Shenoy, a director of primary care at the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, called the move to ban mifepristone "antithetical to my medical practice."

"My patients should be able to receive the highest standard of care without stigma or judgment or judges with no medical training telling them the type of health care they can or cannot receive," Shenoy added.

Brittany House, a patient advocate pursuing a master's degree in public health, said her medication abortion several years ago allowed her to build the life and career she wanted and to get out of an abusive relationship. Mifepristone was a part of "the best care for my 21-year-old body, mind and spirit," she said.

House said states with abortion bans have worse health outcomes for Black mothers and babies, and she said Black, Indigenous and Latino communities are "by far the most at risk with the elimination of the safest form of abortion care."

Other protests in support of mifepristone access and abortion rights took place across the country Saturday, including in South Dakota, Texas, Chicago and Florida. More are expected Sunday.

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Kaitlyn Radde
Kaitlyn Radde is an intern for the Graphics and Digital News desks, where she has covered everything from the midterm elections to child labor. Before coming to NPR, she covered education data at Chalkbeat and contributed data analysis to USA TODAY coverage of Black political representation and NCAA finances. She is a graduate of Indiana University.