Last week, the Supreme Court stayed two rulings restricting access to mifepristone, a medication that can terminate an early pregnancy. In practical terms, that means the abortion pill remains available without restrictions – for now.
Rightwing groups had been pinning their hopes on severely restricting mifepristone, which was approved by the FDA in 2000 and is safer than Viagra or Penicillin, and notching another anti-abortion win. The conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in Amarillo against the FDA, which assured it would be heard by the Trump-appointed Judge Mathew Kacsmaryk.
In March, Kacsmaryk unsurprisingly issued a ruling that invalidated the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. The Biden Administration immediately appealed, and the Fifth Circuit blocked Kacsmaryk’s ruling, but still implemented restrictions on mifepristone. While the Supreme Court has for the moment nulled those decisions, it’s almost inevitable that the issue will return to the highest court in the country.
In March, the health education nonprofit Mayday.Health kicked off a campaign throughout Texas alerting residents in the state about how to order abortion pills. After the Supreme Court ruling, Mayday President Dr. Jennifer Lincoln sent a statement to Signal affirming their commitment to providing healthcare information:
“Mayday.Health will not stop telling people in all [fifty] states how they can access abortion pills — today, tomorrow, or ever. They are safe. They are effective. And everyone should be able to make their own decision as to whether abortion pills are right for them.”
Banning medication abortion remains deeply unpopular. Polling from Ipsos shows that only 29 percent of Americans are in favor of banning medication abortion. Even 49 percent of Republicans do not support banning medication abortion.
As part of his re-election launch video, President Biden touted his commitment to upholding freedom, emphasizing reproductive freedom (without actually using the word abortion however). In a voiceover he says “MAGA extremists” are “dictating what healthcare decisions women can make.” In her first event after the re-election announcement, Vice President Kamala Harris will be appearing alongside leaders from Planned Parenthood Action and NARAL Pro-Choice America at a reproductive freedom rally.
A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).