UPDATE 1-US Supreme Court to decide access to abortion pill in major case

(adds details in paras 4-6)By Andrew ChungDec 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2022 ended its recognition of a constitutional right to abortion, on Wednesday agreed to hear a bid by President Joe Biden's administration to preserve broad access to the abortion pill, setting up another major ruling on reproductive rights set to come in a presidential election year.The justices took up the administration's appeal of an August decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would curb how the pill, called mifepristone, is delivered and distributed, barring telemedicine prescriptions and shipments by mail of the drug. The high court also agreed to hear an appeal by the drug's manufacturer, Danco Laboratories.The 5th Circuit's decision is currently on hold pending the outcome of the appeal at the Supreme Court in a challenge to the pill brought in Texas by anti-abortion groups and doctors. The justices are expected to hear arguments in the coming months and issue a decision by the end of June in the middle of a heated presidential race.Mifepristone is taken with another drug called misoprostol to perform medication abortion, which accounts for more than half of all U.S. abortions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which gave regulatory approval to mifepristone in 2000, has called the drug safe and effective as demonstrated over its decades of use by millions of American women, with adverse effects on them exceedingly rare.The Justice Department in its filing to the Supreme Court said that allowing the 5th Circuit's restrictions to take effect would have "damaging consequences for women seeking lawful abortions and a healthcare system that relies on the availability of the drug under the current conditions of use."The case could put at risk the authority of the FDA, the federal agency that signs off on the safety of food products, drugs and medical devices. (Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Franklin Paul and Will Dunham)