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 March 26, 2024

Supreme Court's abortion drug case could impact 2024 election

The Supreme Court's upcoming decision on whether to reimpose restrictions on the abortion pill mifepristone could potentially impact former President Donald Trump's challenge to Biden's reelection, although the extent of its influence remains uncertain.

According to a February poll by KFF, a nonpartisan health research organization, nearly two-thirds of adults were unaware of the abortion pill case, including about 60% of women of reproductive age residing in states where abortion is currently accessible but could face obstacles based on the Supreme Court's ruling.

The case

The Court will consider various aspects regarding mifepristone, including its dispensation via mail, prescription by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and the timeline for its usage.

In April, the Court will review whether federal law mandates abortion procedures in emergency rooms despite state restrictions.

Mary Ziegler, an expert on reproductive law, suggests that Biden would receive significant political support if the Court issues broad anti-abortion rulings. Rachel O'Leary Carmona, executive director of Women's March, anticipates protests outside the Supreme Court to highlight the implications of the case for women's rights and the upcoming elections.

The surge in abortion pill usage

More than 60% of abortions in the U.S. last year were completed using pills, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Ziegler notes that Trump's campaign would benefit if the Biden administration prevails in both cases or if the decisions are too complex for the public to grasp.

The Supreme Court could potentially sidestep Tuesday's case by ruling that challengers lack sufficient grounds to sue the FDA.

Regardless of the outcomes, reproductive rights are expected to remain a central focus for the Biden campaign, which attributes the erosion of Roe v. Wade and subsequent abortion restrictions to Trump's judicial appointments.

Reasons for expansion

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented several revisions in 2016, 2021, and 2023, expanding the gestational age for mifepristone use to up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, authorizing mail distribution of the medication, reducing dosage, permitting telehealth prescriptions, and broadening prescriber eligibility beyond physicians.

A coalition of anti-abortion physicians and medical organizations, represented by the Christian legal entity Alliance Defending Freedom, seeks Supreme Court affirmation of a prior ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

There exists no legal precedent for a court to override FDA drug approval. However, such an occurrence, experts assert, could disrupt the entire drug approval process and impede access to abortion medication for those in need.

While mifepristone is likely to remain available irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling, substantial access adjustments may arise, even in states where abortion remains legal and protected.

Should the justices affirm the appeals court's ruling, telemedicine prescriptions for mifepristone would be prohibited, marking a major change concerning the issue.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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