Doctors rally to defend abortion provider Caitlin Bernard after she was censured

June 3, 2023
Sarah McCammon

Hundreds of Indiana doctors are coming to the defense of Caitlin Bernard, the obstetrician/gynecologist who was recently punished by a state licensing board for talking publicly about providing an abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim.

In public statements, doctors across a range of specialties are speaking out against the board's decision, and warning that it could have dangerous implications for public health.


USA – Appeals court judges embrace anti-abortion speculation

MAY 18, 2023

America’s major medical institutions and drug policy scholars have roundly denounced as “pseudoscience” many of the claims brought by anti-abortion groups in a high-profile federal lawsuit asking the Food and Drug Administration to revoke its 23-year-old approval of mifepristone, one half of a two-drug regimen that has become the most common form of pregnancy termination post-Roe v. Wade.

But the appeals court’s three-judge panel that heard oral arguments Wednesday appeared to be persuaded not by the medical consensus in this case, but by some of the evidence brought forward by plaintiffs that consists largely of anecdotes, speculation, and cherry-picked studies brought by a handful of anti-abortion medical groups and doctors.


Federal judges grill Biden administration on abortion pill

During a two-hour oral argument, the judges appeared sympathetic to an anti-abortion medical group seeking to revoke the FDA’s approval of mifepristone.


NEW ORLEANS — Three federal judges seemed poised to rule against the Biden administration in its efforts to preserve access to the abortion drug mifepristone.

During an occasionally combative, two-hour hearing Wednesday before a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges — all Republican appointees — grilled attorneys from the Justice Departments and Danco Laboratories, the pill’s manufacturer, who are battling to keep the drug available in the U.S.


Colorado becomes the first state to ban controversial abortion pill reversals

As pills emerge as the latest front in the war over abortion, the practice of administering progesterone after mifepristone may soon be labeled as ‘medical misconduct’ in the state.

Claire Cleveland, KFF Health News
May 3, 2023

In Glenwood Springs, Colorado, registered nurse Katie Laven answers calls from people who’ve started the two-pill medication abortion regimen and want to stop the process.

“They are just in turmoil,” said Laven, who works at the Abortion Pill Rescue Network and answers some of the roughly 150 calls it says come in each month. “They feel like, ‘Well, maybe an abortion would make it better.’ And then they take the abortion pill and they’re like, ‘I don’t feel better. In fact, I feel much worse that I did that.’”


USA – Lawyers suggest a way around abortion pill restrictions but doctors may be afraid to try it

Doctors can prescribe abortion pills off-label if courts impose restrictions. Will they?


The Supreme Court’s Friday decision punts the fate of the abortion pill mifepristone back to lower courts — maintaining the current level of access for now but leaving in jeopardy the most common method of terminating a pregnancy.

Some legal experts have argued that doctors can circumvent a key piece of the restrictions lower courts may impose by prescribing the pill off label. But physicians say it’s not that simple, and focusing on that technicality misses the larger peril facing doctors who help patients have an abortion.


The Latest Casualties of Idaho’s Abortion Ban: Babies

An entire obstetrics department shuttered. Give the Idaho GOP a round of applause!

Abigail Weinberg
March 25, 2023

An Idaho hospital is ending its labor and delivery services in the wake of a Texas-style, near-total abortion ban signed into state law last year.

Citing the state’s “legal and political climate,” Bonner General Health plans to stop delivering babies and providing other obstetrical services in mid-May, according to a press release. While the release doesn’t explicitly blame Idaho’s restrictive abortion laws for the decision, the implication is clear: “Highly respected, talented physicians are leaving,” it says, while the state legislature “continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care.”


Abortion Laws Stand Between Pregnant Texans and the Care They Need

Doctors are left to guess at whether helping their patients will land them in prison.

MARCH 24, 2023

Doctors have a code, a set of principles meant to guide their practice: Give care. Act justly. Respect patients. Do no harm. But for Texas doctors, especially obstetrician-gynecologists, following those seemingly straightforward principles has become a legal and ethical minefield.

Physicians are finding themselves torn between providing medically appropriate care and staying in compliance with the state’s draconian anti-abortion laws. The stakes couldn’t be higher: risking major fines and up to life in prison for doctors on one side, and on the other, often putting women’s lives at risk because of delays in care or refusals to provide formerly routine procedures. As a result, medical decisions regarding pregnancy complications now involve a host of new stakeholders—hospital administrators and lawyers—who may put questions of institutional risk above patient well-being.


Punishable by death—how the US anti-abortion movement ended up proposing the death penalty

These proposals are unlikely to succeed but remind Americans what is at stake, writes Rebecca Kluchin

BMJ 2023; 380 doi:
Published 24 March 2023
Rebecca Kluchin, professor

In January 2023, 24 Republican legislators in the US state of South Carolina sponsored the South Carolina Equal Protection Act of 2023, a bill designed to extend constitutional rights to embryos and fetuses at all stages of development, granting them equality with women already born.1 The bill makes women and pregnant people who undergo abortion subject to the state’s homicide laws and punishments, including the death penalty. It allows exceptions if they face “imminent death or great bodily injury,” as well as to save the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest.

The anti-abortion movement celebrated a huge victory last summer when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. With the ruling for Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court threw abortion policy back to the judgment of individual states, making access to abortion care contingent on where one lives. Since then, 14 states have criminalised abortion.2 South Carolina legislators attempted to ban the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, but the state supreme court ruled that effort unconstitutional in January. The Equal Protection Act is one of several legislative efforts to ban the procedure again.


The Latest Attack on the Abortion Pill Is Forty Years in the Making

If a Texas lawsuit prevails, mifepristone will no longer be available anywhere in the nation, even in states where abortion is legal.

By Sue Halpern, The New Yorker
March 9, 2023

In 1987, Ms. magazine asked me to write about RU-486, a new medication that caused the uterus to expel a fertilized egg before it could gestate. It wasn’t a contraceptive, but it wasn’t what most people considered an abortion, either. At the time, anti-abortion campaigners were brandishing ultrasound images that purported to show fetuses crying out in pain as they were being surgically removed. RU-486, which was developed in France but not yet available in the United States, threatened to stymie this tactic: there would be no fetal development to flaunt. Even the president of the National Right to Life Committee acknowledged that there was little P.R. value in images of what appeared to be menstruating women. This disarming of the pro-life movement, and the drug’s seemingly benign effect, I wrote, “may serve to decimate the ranks of abortion foes.” Étienne-Émile Baulieu, the primary developer of RU-486, which is better known as mifepristone, was even more hopeful. With this drug, he declared, abortion “should more or less disappear as a concept, as a fact, as a word in the future.”


Abortion was once common practice in America. A small group of doctors changed that

January 19, 2023
Rund Abdelfatah
6-Minute Listen with Transcript

The 50th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision is Jan. 22. NPR's podcast Throughline examines the debate about abortion, which wasn't always controversial.

This week, it'll mark 50 years since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutionally protected right - at least for 49 years. In U.S. history, though, abortion wasn't always controversial. In fact, in colonial America, it was considered a fairly common practice, a private decision made by women and aided mostly by midwives. But in the mid-1800s, a small group of physicians set out to change that. Led by a zealous young doctor named Horatio Storer, they launched a campaign to make abortion illegal in every state. Here are hosts Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah from our history podcast Throughline.