In its First Abortion Decision Since Justice Barrett’s Confirmation, the Court Allowed the Trump Administration to Subject Abortion Patients to Needless Covid-19 Risk
JANUARY 12, 2021
American Civil Liberties Union
WASHINGTON — In its first ruling on abortion with Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the bench, the Supreme Court today reinstated a federal policy that requires patients seeking a medication used for early abortion care to incur unnecessary COVID-19 risks by traveling to a health center for the sole purpose of picking up a pill and signing a form.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy requires patients seeking mifepristone to pick up the pill in person at a hospital, clinic, or medical office, even when the patient has already been evaluated by a clinician using telehealth or at a prior in-person visit and will be receiving no medical services at the time. During the pandemic, this travel exposes patients to needless COVID-19 risks relating to transportation, childcare, and other interpersonal contact. With today’s decision from the Supreme Court, the in-person pill pick-up requirement will go back into effect immediately.
In their first abortion case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the court, the justices reinstated a requirement that women seeking medication abortions pick up a pill in person.
By Adam Liptak, New York Times
Jan. 12, 2021
WASHINGTON — In the Supreme Court’s first ruling on abortion since the arrival of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the court on Tuesday reinstated a federal requirement that women seeking to end their pregnancies using medications pick up a pill in person from a hospital or medical office.
The court’s brief order was unsigned, and the three more liberal justices dissented. The only member of the majority to offer an explanation was Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who said the ruling was a limited one that deferred to the views of experts.
By Carrie N. Baker
The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming many aspects of our lives, and
abortion is no exception. Telemedicine is expanding access to abortion health
care in ways that are likely to persist long after the pandemic is over.
Telemedicine abortion combines medication abortion — which uses pills to end a
pregnancy — and telemedicine — which allows health providers to supervise the
use of abortion pills via videoconferencing or telephone consultations.
The Court’s new majority has its first chance to take a shot at Roe v. Wade.
By Ian Millhiser
Dec 17, 2020
Last October, the Supreme Court handed down a fairly surprising order in an abortion case.
FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concerns whether patients should have an easier time obtaining a pill used in medication abortions while the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging, but the Trump administration saw in the case an opportunity to drastically roll back abortion rights. One of the administration’s arguments could force abortion patients to have unnecessary surgeries instead of receiving a far less invasive medication abortion, and it could potentially deny abortions to many people altogether.
The path lies not in legislation but through the deregulation of mifepristone—the only drug the FDA has approved to safely and effectively terminate an early pregnancy.
Nov 28, 2020
Joe Biden is now poised to become the next president of the United States. His victory, however, is bittersweet for many Democrats, especially those for whom abortion rights are a top issue. Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives, and their odds for a Senate majority seem to be dwindling. Just eight days before the election, Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Without a Senate majority and with a hostile Supreme Court, some may wonder whether any progress on abortion rights can be made in the next four years.
Abortion-rights advocates need not accept that all is lost. They simply need to look outside legislation and the courts for their answer.
Medication abortions have are a safe and accessible method of terminating pregnancy, but they have been targeted by onerous FDA restrictions
Sun 1 Nov 2020
With six conservative justices now sitting on the supreme court, the future of abortion access in US looks increasingly uncertain. But in addition to concerns about whether abortion clinics can stay open, activists are warning that lesser-known abortion medications are also under threat.
Medication abortions have been proven to be a safe and effective method of terminating pregnancy, and because they can be completed without doctor supervision, they serve as a crucial alternative for those who have had other abortion services shuttered in their state, or who do not feel safe accessing traditional health services.
OCTOBER 20, 2020
Katie realized she was pregnant during the first week of April 2020. She decided pretty quickly that she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. She already had two kids, and she’d just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The condition was still uncontrolled, which made her pregnancy high-risk. But it was just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. She was in full lockdown, and she wasn’t sure if she could get an abortion.
"I was Googling abortions," she tells Refinery29. "My biggest thing was not wanting to actually go to a place." Besides being afraid of catching the virus, the nearest clinic to Katie was six hours away from her home in New Mexico, and she wasn’t sure how she’d find the time to get there.
It’s hard not to read the Court’s order as a ploy to delay an abortion showdown until after the election.
By Ian Millhiser
Oct 8, 2020
The Supreme Court handed down an order Thursday night that doesn’t so much resolve a significant fight over abortion as delay a resolution — postponing it just long enough to ensure that the justices won’t need to weigh in until after the election.
The case, FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, involves a dispute over whether abortion patients should have an easier time obtaining a pill used as part of a two-drug regimen to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone, the drug at the center of American College, causes pregnancy tissue and the lining of the uterus to break down and separate from the uterus itself. About a day or two after taking mifepristone, the patient takes a second drug, misoprostol, which causes uterine contractions and expels the uterus’s contents.
BY REPS. DIANA DEGETTE (D-COLO.), BARBARA LEE (D-CALIF.), JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-ILL.) AND AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MASS.), OPINION CONTRIBUTORS
Over the years, there have been numerous challenges in the way the United States has approached reproductive health. We rely on our public health institutions to make decisions using the best data to get the best outcomes. Twenty years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mifepristone, the pill for medication abortion with numerous restrictions on who could prescribe the medication, where it could be taken and where it could be dispensed.
Now, 20 years later, medication abortion care has been used by more than 4 million women and has proven to be a safe and effective option to end an early pregnancy. Mifepristone has long had the potential to transform health care access — yet, the same restrictions the FDA first placed on medication abortion needlessly remain in place to this day. This must change.
Both abortion advocates and opponents have used the COVID-19 crisis to further their policy goals.
Carrie N. Baker
Sep 21, 2020
The gendered dimensions of the political response to the COVID-19 crisis are manifesting clearly in efforts to close abortion clinics, as well as in campaigns led by doctors, lawyers, and reproductive rights advocates to expand access to telemedicine abortion during the pandemic and beyond.
Anti-abortion politicians in states across the country have used the COVID-19 pandemic to attempt to restrict abortion, arguing that abortion is not essential health care and that banning the procedure will conserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases. In March and April of 2020, 12 states tried to restrict abortion, including Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, among others. Legislators in Kentucky passed a bill to allow the state’s Attorney General to block abortion access during COVID-19, but the Kentucky governor vetoed the bill.