NEWS: The Supreme Court Fight Over an Abortion Pill: What’s Next?

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Repro Health Watch

The Supreme Court Fight Over an Abortion Pill: What’s Next?,

AP News, April 20, 2023

The Supreme Court initially gave itself a deadline of Wednesday to decide whether women seeking access to a widely used abortion pill would face more restrictions while a court case plays out. But on the day of the highly anticipated decision the justices had only this to say: We need more time. In a one-sentence order, the court said it now expects to act by Friday evening. There was no explanation of the reason for the delay. The new abortion controversy comes less than a year after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed more than a dozen states to effectively ban abortion outright. The Supreme Court’s delay suggests a maddening reality about an institution that ordinarily adheres to a schedule that hasn’t changed much in years: Even experts can be in the dark about when the court will decide things and how.

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Blue States Stockpile Abortion Pills Amid Legal Uncertainty

Axios, April 17, 2023

The high-stakes legal battle over a widely used abortion pill has left some blue states busily stockpiling the medication, in anticipation of a time when it could no longer be easily accessible. The big picture: At least two states say they are creating reserves of mifepristone to continue enabling access to the two-pill regimen for medication abortion that’s at the center of the legal battle. Two others are focusing on the other pill, whose availability isn’t threatened, to offer an alternative. Medication abortion accounts for 54% of abortions in the U.S., and 98% of those used mifepristone, an abortion drug normally used alongside a second pill, misoprostol. Misoprostol can be used on its own to terminate a pregnancy, but the method is slightly less effective. The combination regimen is considered the gold standard by health providers.

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Florida’s Abortion Laws Protect a Pregnant Person’s Life, but Not for Mental Health

NPR, April 19, 2022

Under a new six-week abortion ban signed late Thursday by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, and under the state’s active 15-week abortion ban, there are exceptions when the life of the pregnant person is at risk, but not if the danger stems from a psychological condition. That’s the case in several states around the country. Doctors can be reluctant to provide mental health care to pregnant people in part because of a lack of clinical research on the use of psychotropic medication during pregnancy. Beyond that, simply navigating the system—finding a provider, getting an appointment and covering the cost—is difficult. That’s concerning for Heather Flynn, a psychologist and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at Florida State University, especially since suicide is a leading causes of maternal mortality. For anyone, having a baby is a major decision. For a person with a psychiatric condition, or who develops one during pregnancy, Flynn says the factors included in making that decision need to be considered even more carefully.

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Black Pregnant Women Are Tested More Frequently for Drug Use, Study Suggests

New York Times, April 14, 2023

Hospitals are more likely to give drug tests to Black women delivering babies than white women, regardless of the mother’s history of substance use, suggests a new study of a health system in Pennsylvania. And such excessive testing was unwarranted, the study found: Black women were less likely than white women to test positive for drugs. The report comes amid a national conversation about health disparities and systemic racism in medicine, one that was triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic’s disproportionate toll on communities of color, and that has focused more recently on high maternal mortality rates among Black and Native American women.

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Republican Effort to Undo VA Abortion Rule Fails in Senate

Washington Post, April 19, 2023

The Senate rejected a Republican effort on Wednesday to reverse a Department of Veterans Affairs policy that has expanded some abortion services to veterans, a victory for President Joe Biden and Democrats who say the services are necessary medical care. The Sept. 2022 rule was put in place as Democrats have tried to find ways to maintain abortion access after the Supreme Court last year overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that guaranteed the right to an abortion. The Biden administration says the rule is in direct response to new restrictions on abortion in some states that are “creating serious risks to the life and health of our Nation’s veterans.”

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Note: The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women’s health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families.