SAN DIEGO — The Supreme Court’s Friday ruling that allowed a medication used in the most common method of abortion to remain on the market came as a relief to abortion rights supporters, while a lawsuit against it continues to make its way through the courts.

However, state and local officials have already begun preparing for the possibility that the widely used drug for abortions and miscarriages becomes outlawed in the future.

The 7-2 ruling by the high court halted lower-court decisions in a challenge brought against the Food and Drug Administration’s decades-old approval of the medication mifepristone that would have placed immediate nationwide restrictions on access to the pill.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, the author of last year’s decision in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade, were the two dissenting votes.

“The Supreme Court weighed in and just put the brakes on this particular case,” attorney and legal expert, Wendy Patrick, told FOX 5. “This decision (just) sends the case back to the lower courts, but maybe with a signal that most of those justices believe that this particular challenge to (mifepristone) will fail in the end.”

Mifepristone, which was approved by the FDA in 2000, has been safely used by more than five million people.

The medication used in combination with a similar drug, misoprostol, accounts for more than half of all abortions in the country. Doctors also frequently prescribe mifepristone to help with managing miscarriages.

While Friday’s decision will likely leave access to mifepristone unchanged into at least next year, California officials have initiated new efforts to protect access to abortion in the state in case its approval is overturned by the courts upon appeal.

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the purchase of an emergency stockpile of the other abortion medication, misoprostol. California leaders will also be working to implement protections for pharmacists that dispense mifepristone, if the FDA approval gets suspended.

“Mifepristone is safe, legal, and has been FDA-approved for more than two decades,” Newsom said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision. “Medication abortion is available and accessible here in California and we will continue to fight to protect people’s freedom to choose.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers in San Diego have promised to assist in these statewide efforts to make sure that mifepristone and misoprostol remain available in the region.

“We have to be prepared here in San Diego County to take a stand and be ready to defend our right to abortion access and reproductive freedom,” San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer said. “This is not going to stop, and this is going to be a long fight that we are going to be in.”

The New Orleans-based 5th circuit federal court has already ordered an accelerated hearing for the case’s appeal, with arguments set for appeal on May 17. The timetable for a ruling is unclear, although legal experts believe that it will likely head back to the Supreme Court.

Experts are particularly worried about the precedent that the case could set should the courts rule in favor of the anti-abortion group behind the lawsuit, opening up any drug or treatment approved by the FDA — including vaccinations — to legal challenges.

FOX 5’s Danielle Dawson contributed to this report.