Earlier this month, A recent Supreme Court order rejected a ruling from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which declared that the widely used and two-decade-old abortion pill, Mifepristone, should be banned from being either mailed or prescribed without an in-person prescription from a doctor. Despite the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ten-week approval, the ruling also sought to limit the drug’s use to only the first seven weeks of pregnancy. This decision was a restricted version from the one made days before by a Trump-appointed Texan judge,Matthew Kacsmaryk, which outright suspended the FDA’s approval of the drug. He also upheld the 150-year-old inactive Comstock Act which “plainly forecloses mail-order abortion.” This decision came out of a lawsuit in November in which an anti-abortionChristian legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, claimed that the FDA “exceeded its regulatory authority and ignored safety concerns” about the drug. FDA officials vehemently disagree with this, arguing, “Mifepristone was safe and effective when the FDA first approved it over two decades ago, and has remained that way ever since. Study after study has found medication abortions to be an exceedingly safe and effective way to end a pregnancy.” From there the Biden administration brought the case to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also had Trump appointees on it, where the decision was narrowed. To some surprise, the clearly anti-abortion Supreme Court, as demonstrated in the overturning of Roe v. Wade case, froze the ruling as the case returned back to the fifth circuit court with arguments on May 17.
Although no reasons were presented for the decision, general Supreme Court precedent often follows FDA approvals:“If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks,” writes Biden after the Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling. It is not a permanent fix as the case will be reviewed again,this time it might not come out in favor of abortion rights . If the ban were to have gone in place, many would have been left helpless as Mifepristone alone constitutes half of all medical abortions in the U.S. It would have also caused a rise in surgical abortions which could overwhelm already strained abortion clinics across the country.
Despite the far reaching and potentially devastating consequences of this case, this case and similar ones are highly common. Even now Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy refuses to raise the federal debt limit as a battering tool against his Democratic adversaries in order to achieve federal spending cuts. The U.S. has already gone over the limit and is using “extraordinary measures” (which are on track to run out very soon) to keep the federal government from defaulting on its debt which would not only cause a national recession, but damage the global economy. Cases like this and attitudes regarding it show how divided the country have become. Now, half of the population is not even allowed to control their own bodies because a judge in Texas says so, and our government weaponizes critical economic policies against itself. Although there is no solution any one person can make, only so much damage can be done until either the people again or the system collapses entirely.