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Brief #100 – Health & Gender

Brief Title: Supreme Court Approved Trump Administration’s Request to Limit Abortion Drug Access 

Author Taylor J Smith

April 8, 2021

The Policy

During Donald Trump’s final days as president, the US Supreme Court granted a request by the administration to reimplement restrictions on patients attempting to obtain mifepristone, a drug used to terminate early pregnancy. The Supreme Court decision reinstates the requirement for patients to pick up the medication in person. Three lower courts had previously blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s requirement for an in-person pick up. The lower court rulings were  fueled by the coronavirus pandemic and assumed risks of entering a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic at this time. The court split 6-3, with the liberal justices in the opposition.

Analysis:

Requiring patients to make in-person visits to hospitals, clinics, or doctors’ offices places patients and hospital staff is in unnecessary danger amid a global pandemic. The justifications behind previous permissions were made with public health and safety in mind, as the pandemic rages on and a new strain is picking up traction, it should be expected that such permissions continue. Instead, the Trump Administration has pushed for the removal of these permissions, making the choice to use and get this medication harder for those wanting to terminate a pregnancy. Like other anti-abortion legislation pushed during the Trump Administration, this decision’s intention is to limit having access to abortions. The reason why this change has been made revolves solely around the fact that  mifepristone terminates pregnancies; if this were any other medication, a tele-visit or phone call would suffice and patients would either pick up their medication at a local pharmacy or have it mailed, as millions have done prior to and during this pandemic. This rule must be reassessed for the betterment of public health and safety, not for ideological reasons.

Additionally, this is the first abortion case to come before Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest justice who replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The Supreme Court’s ruling raises concerns of abortion rights supporters that she will swing the court too far to the right and threaten Roe v. Wade.

It will be interesting to see if the new Biden-Harris Administration. Which is pro-abortion rights,  challenges the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Engagement Resources:

Planned Parenthood : Reproductive rights advocacy group that provided affordable and accessible health services to women across the US.

National Abortion Federation : Advocacy group which respects women’s ability to make informed decisions about her reproductive health.

Center for Reproductive Rights : Legal group ensuring the protection of reproductive rights for every woman around the world.

NARAL Pro-Choice America : An advocacy group fighting for reproductive rights across the US.

American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project : The branch of the ACLU dealing with reproductive rights, they provide advocacy, litigation, and public education on the rights of individuals.

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