Supreme Court Hears Arguments over Abortion Pill, Mifepristone

During opening arguments on March 26, 2024, a majority of Supreme Court justices appeared to be doubtful of a nationwide ban or limits on mifepristone, the primary drug used for medical abortions.

As reported by CNN, the case was the first abortion-related hearing since the nation’s high court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The issue in question involves lower-court rulings that would have eliminated recent Food and Drug Administration decisions to diminish access to mifepristone. A district court previously called for a nationwide ban as well.

At the same time, however, the case would be based on whether the doctors who introduced the original lawsuit were able to bring the case in the first place.

The decision is scheduled to take place in July.

During the second hour of arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch questioned the challenger’s attorney regarding the nationwide impact as a result of the lawsuit.

“Why can’t the court specify that this relief runs to precisely the parties before the court as opposed to looking to the agency in general and saying agency you can’t do this anywhere?” Roberts asked the attorney, Erin Hawley.

Although Hawley was going to explain how this type of remedy would be “impractical”, Gorsuch intervened to address the latest surge in universal injunctions. He noted he went back “and looked and there are exactly zero universal injunctions that were issued during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 12 years in office – pretty consequential ones.”

“And over the last four years or so, the number is something like 60 and maybe more than that,” he continued. “And they’re a relatively new thing. And you’re asking us to extend and pursue this relatively new course, which this court has never adopted itself.”

“This case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide, legislative assembly on an FDA rule or any other government action,” Gorsuch said.

The Biden administration asserted that even if some action was made in favor of the plaintiffs it should not have affected the whole nation instead of the litigants in the case.

“What the court did… is enter sweeping nationwide relief that restricts access to mifepristone for every single woman in this country. And that causes profound harm,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said.

At the present time, medication abortion is only accessible through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Although a person does not need to see a provider in-person to receive drugs for a medication abortion, providers still must be present to review gestational age and whether someone may have an ectopic pregnancy.

A majority of medication abortions occur without an ultrasound.

Image credit: ©Getty Images / Catherine McQueen

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

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