14 States Have Banned Abortion, Biden Administration Seeks to Reverse Restrictions
In a landmark ruling in June 2022, the Supreme Court declared that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion, leaving the matter to be decided by individual states. As a result, 14 states have passed laws banning abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with certain exceptions. Additionally, two other states have enacted legislation prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks of gestation.
Now, the Biden administration is pushing back against restrictions imposed on access to the abortion drug mifepristone. The administration, along with the drug’s manufacturer, is appealing an appellate court’s ruling that would cut off mail access to the drug and impose other limitations, even in states where abortion remains legal. One of the proposed restrictions is shortening the timeframe for using mifepristone from the current 10 weeks to seven weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion opponents had also challenged the initial approval of mifepristone by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. However, the nine justices of the Supreme Court rejected this separate appeal. The opponents argued that the FDA had removed safety standards that were originally deemed necessary for women using abortion drugs. Erin Hawley, counsel for the civil rights firm Alliance Defending Freedom, accused the Biden administration of defending the FDA’s actions, which she believes have put women at risk.
According to Hawley, the FDA’s own label for mifepristone states that approximately one in 25 women who take the drug will end up in the emergency room. She argues that the removal of in-person doctor visits and consistent medical care has exposed more women to severe, and potentially life-threatening, medical conditions. Regardless of personal beliefs about abortion, Hawley emphasizes that no one should be comfortable with the FDA leaving women to handle these high-risk drugs without proper support.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in this case on Tuesday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. This case has significant implications for the future of abortion access and the regulation of drugs used in the procedure.