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.
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.
PBS, Oct 21, 2020
by Courtney Vinopal
Over her three-day confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett repeatedly declined to discuss her stance on abortion. But while there is no way to know for certain how she will rule on such cases, legal scholars say that her record, as well as a careful reading of certain answers she gave the Senate Judiciary Committee, gives clues about where the Supreme Court could be headed on issues of reproductive rights.
Barrett assured members of the committee that she would bring “no agenda” to her role if confirmed to the high court. She has also expressed anti-abortion beliefs in the past, and joined two dissents on abortion restriction cases during her time on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Roe v. Wade Might Be Overturned Soon — This Is Worse Than You Think
OCTOBER 20, 2020
Angel Kai’s* heart sank when she found out she was pregnant again. The 20-year-old had delivered her second child only three months prior. She was on unpaid maternity leave from her job in Amarillo, TX, and she’d just received a $130 electricity bill in the mail that she didn’t know if she’d be able to pay. “Everything that was happening financially was just bad,” she remembers. “I couldn’t have another kid. I knew getting an abortion would be the best thing, because I couldn’t walk up the street to get a soda if I wanted one at the time. We were that tight on money.”
It turned out, though, that Angel couldn’t even afford the abortion she knew she wanted. Her health plan was offered under state-funded Medicaid, which, in Texas, only covers abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. So, Angel Googled “abortion financial help.”
By Quoctrung Bui, Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
Ne York Times
Oct. 15, 2020
The almost-certain confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has increased the chances that Roe v. Wade will be weakened or overturned. If that were to happen, abortion access would decline in large regions of the country, a new data analysis shows.
Legal abortion access would be unchanged in more than half of states, but it would effectively end for those living in much of the American South and Midwest, especially those who are poor, according to the analysis. (The analysis incorporates more recent data on research we wrote about last year.)
Federal restrictions are limiting access to telemedicine abortion care. That needs to change
August 9, 2020
The ongoing pandemic has led to huge shifts in how we live and work, and health care is no exception. In the past few months, telehealth visits have surged more than 50 percent, enabling patients to access much of the health care they need without taking the added risk of leaving their homes.
But for people seeking reproductive health services, longstanding state and federal restrictions continue to needlessly limit their access to telemedicine abortion care.
What kind of nation allows people to be prosecuted for health care?
By Renee Bracey Sherman
July 15, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Last November, I drove more than 12 hours for an abortion. It wasn’t mine (I had mine in 2005); I picked up a young woman in rural Pennsylvania whom I’ll call Raquel. She needed a ride to a clinic in Maryland to get some pills that she would take back at her home to have a medication abortion. As we drove to the clinic, I told Raquel about what to expect during the appointment; after I finished I paused and said, “As much as I love getting to know you on this drive, did you know you could safely do this at home but the government won’t let you?” She was surprised. Like many people, she knew about limitations on abortion but didn’t know that very safe and basic methods are being restricted because of outdated FDA regulations on how they can be dispensed. The drive bonded us—we still keep in touch, and she approved the inclusion of her story here—but it was an unnecessary exercise, one that antiabortion politicians created to make yet another constitutional right as inaccessible as possible. The cruelty of the barricades along the journey is the point.
'I see a danger in returning to a pre-Roe world:' Abortion advocates view coronavirus-era restrictions as a dark sign of what could come
May 15, 2020
In non-pandemic times, obtaining an abortion already presented serious legal and logistical challenges for millions of women. For patients who live in certain states, getting care means enduring state-imposed waiting periods, submitting to unnecessary ultrasounds, or rushing to receive care before an arbitrary legal deadline. For patients who already have children, care must be arranged. Those without a car need a ride, especially if the nearest clinic is hours away. Some need flights to more accommodating states. And many, many need funds.
But women seeking abortions since the coronavirus outbreak began faced a new challenge — states' attempts to temporarily limit or ban abortion outright by deeming them "non-essential" procedures, under the pretext of preserving medical supplies for COVID-19 treatment. These restrictions collided with the travel and social distancing restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus, leading to an even more precarious situation for abortion care than the one already in place.
Texas Abortion Patients Arrive in Colorado Clinics ‘Frustrated and Exhausted’
People are making the grueling drive from Texas to Colorado for abortion care after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) used the COVID-19 pandemic to suspend abortion rights.
Apr 20, 2020
Dr. Rebecca Cohen now recognizes Texas area codes calling the Comprehensive Women’s Health Center in Denver.
In recent weeks, pregnant people have found their access to legal abortion increasingly compromised by the COVID-19 crisis. And many are looking to Colorado—an abortion care oasis—in desperation.
Texas’s Opportunistic Abortion Ban Puts Women’s Lives at Risk
by Dr. Sara Simons
I was midway through my volunteer shift for a Texas abortion fund hotline when the Texas attorney general banned abortions.
I realized something was amiss when I spoke to a college student who had called our hotline that morning, March 23, seeking funding for her procedure.
By the time I reached her that afternoon, the clinic where her appointment was scheduled for March 25 had been shut down until April 21.