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Four charts that show what’s at stake in the lawsuit targeting medication abortion

A court ruling out of Texas could have huge implications for abortion care across the country.

A federal on Friday ruled on a lawsuit from anti-abortion groups that targets FDA approval of the drug mifepristone, which is part of a two-medication combination used to end early pregnancies, often at home.

The ruling could block widespread access to the abortion drug, which has been used for decades. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the government will appeal the decision and seek a stay pending appeal.

Mifepristone is used in nearly all medication abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research organization, and whether providers will continue offering medication abortion without it is not yet known.


What we do know is that medication abortion is becoming more common. In Massachusetts, it now represents about half of all abortions, according to the most recently available data from the Mass. Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Nationwide, medication abortion now accounts for the majority of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey said over the weekend that mifepristone would remain legal in Massachusetts.

Below are four charts that show what’s at stake in the lawsuit:

The share of medication abortions is on the rise, even as abortion itself becomes less common

The impact of a ruling that revokes approval of mifepristone won’t be felt evenly

The number of counties without an abortion provider could rise across the country if the ruling restricts access to the drug mifepristone — but some states could be hit harder than others. The Guttmacher Institute found that two percent of counties in the United States have abortion providers that only offer medication abortion. Its analysis found that 10 states, including two in New England, could see a significant drop in access to abortion if the drug loses approval, putting medication-only providers at risk of having to stop providing care.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her @cprignano.