Supreme Court Punts Abortion Pill Case to Friday, Which Is Not a Good Sign
It should be the world’s easiest call to smack down the disingenuous lawsuit against mifepristone. SCOTUS needing a couple more days is pretty ominous.AbortionPolitics
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stepped in to the giant mess that is the abortion pill lawsuit and chose chaos: It punted on making a decision on the nonsense restrictions that lower court judges wanted to impose. While the drug mifepristone remains legally available in the states that haven’t banned abortion—and on a gray market in states with bans—the move doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the court will make the right decision in the end.
The court said in an extremely brief order that it was extending the pause on restrictions by two days, until 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, April 21. It could mean the Justices are still debating what to do, or that they know the outcome but certain folks are writing furious dissents. It’s possible that some of those dissents could be coming from conservative Justices eager to claim that the Comstock Act of 1873 is good law, which would roll out the welcome mat for future lawsuits that could lead to a nationwide abortion ban. It’s also possible that the liberal Justices are dissenting, and the Court wants to drop its insane order late on a Friday to blunt the news coverage.
The bigger picture though, is that we shouldn’t even be here—this lawsuit is bogus. The plaintiffs challenging the 22-year-old FDA approval of a safe drug conveniently brought the suit only after Roe v. Wade was overturned, filed it in a Texas federal district where there’s only one judge, and—wouldn’t you know it—he’s an extremely anti-abortion guy who used to work at a Christian legal firm and has a penchant for issuing nationwide rulings. Also, judges can’t tell the FDA what to do. Absolutely none of it is on the level.
It should be the world’s easiest call to smack down this lawsuit and yet, here we are.
Medication abortion is a super common method that accounted for 54 percent of all terminations done in medical settings in 2020; mifepristone is usually taken with misoprostol but that drug can also be used on its own. Anti-abortion activists hate that pills exist and that people can get them by mail because that helps people evade abortion bans. They want every single pregnant person to have to trek across multiple state borders to clinics with ever-increasing wait lists, where they’ll face rabid protesters calling them murderers. Which is to say they want to make getting an abortion so expensive and logistically difficult that people give up.
Abortion pills are an existential threat to the anti-abortion movement and now we must wait another two excruciating days to see if this Supreme Court is going to toss its own words from last year aside get into the business of imposing nationwide abortion restrictions.