DiscoverThe NPR Politics PodcastAbortion Status Quo Remains For Now After Supreme Court Punt
Abortion Status Quo Remains For Now After Supreme Court Punt

Abortion Status Quo Remains For Now After Supreme Court Punt

Update: 2024-06-133
Share

Digest

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to the FDA's approval of Mifrapristone, the abortion medication, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. The court ruled that the plaintiffs, who were medical doctors who did not prescribe the drug, had not suffered any injury and therefore did not have the legal right to sue. The decision leaves in place the patchwork system of abortion access in the United States, with 14 states having near total abortion bans and other states allowing access to the medication. The decision was seen as a victory for abortion rights advocates, but they acknowledge that the fight is far from over. The case was filed in the Northern District of Texas by a judge with a history of anti-abortion rulings, and the Supreme Court's decision was seen as a necessary step to prevent a major disruption to access to the medication. The decision is likely to be challenged again in the future, with states like Missouri, Idaho, and Kansas already planning to pursue legal action. The case also raises questions about the legality of other challenges to access to medication abortion, such as efforts to restrict the mailing of abortion pills. The Supreme Court's decision is a significant development in the ongoing debate over abortion access in the United States, but it is unlikely to be the final word on the issue.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the podcast and its hosts, Asma Khalid, Keri Johnson, and Selena Stevens-Duffin, who covers health policy for NPR. The podcast focuses on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold access to the abortion medication Mifrapristone.

00:00:44
Supreme Court Decision on Mifrapristone

This Chapter discusses the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to reject a challenge to the FDA's approval of Mifrapristone. The court found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they had not suffered any injury. The decision leaves in place the patchwork system of abortion access in the United States, with 14 states having near total abortion bans and other states allowing access to the medication.

00:06:18
Political Implications and Future Challenges

This Chapter explores the political implications of the Supreme Court's decision and discusses the potential for future challenges to access to medication abortion. The hosts discuss statements from President Biden and Vice President Harris warning that Republicans will continue to attack access to medication abortion. They also discuss the efforts of states like Missouri, Idaho, and Kansas to restrict access to the medication and the potential for challenges to the FDA's regulatory process.

Keywords

Mifrapristone
Mifrapristone is a medication used in medication abortion, a method of terminating a pregnancy using pills. It is the first drug taken in a two-drug regimen, followed by Misoprostol. Mifrapristone blocks the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for the continuation of a pregnancy. It is approved by the FDA and has been used for over two decades, with over five million Americans having used it. It is used for almost two-thirds of all abortions in the United States.

Medication Abortion
Medication abortion is a method of terminating a pregnancy using pills. It is a safe and effective method of abortion that is available in many countries, including the United States. It involves taking two medications, Mifrapristone and Misoprostol, which work together to end a pregnancy. Medication abortion is often preferred over surgical abortion because it is less invasive and can be done in the privacy of one's own home.

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court in the country. It is composed of nine justices who are appointed for life by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Supreme Court has the power to review laws passed by Congress and state legislatures, as well as decisions made by lower courts. The Supreme Court's decisions are binding on all other courts in the country.

FDA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA also regulates tobacco products and the safety of imported food and consumer goods.

Abortion Rights
Abortion rights are the legal and social rights of women to have access to safe and legal abortion services. The debate over abortion rights is a highly contentious one, with strong opinions on both sides. Those who support abortion rights argue that women should have the right to control their own bodies and make their own decisions about their reproductive health. Those who oppose abortion rights argue that abortion is morally wrong and that it should be illegal.

Reproductive Rights
Reproductive rights are the rights of individuals to make decisions about their own bodies and reproductive health, including the right to access contraception, abortion, and other reproductive healthcare services. Reproductive rights are a fundamental human right that is essential for women's health, well-being, and equality. The debate over reproductive rights is a complex one, with strong opinions on both sides. Those who support reproductive rights argue that individuals should have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and reproductive health. Those who oppose reproductive rights argue that abortion is morally wrong and that it should be illegal.

Telemedicine
Telemedicine is the use of technology to provide healthcare services remotely. It allows patients to consult with doctors and other healthcare providers without having to travel to a physical clinic or hospital. Telemedicine is becoming increasingly popular, especially for patients who live in rural areas or have limited mobility. It can be used for a variety of healthcare services, including diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care.

Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that is known for its opposition to abortion rights and LGBTQ+ rights. ADF has been involved in a number of high-profile legal cases, including the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade. The group's mission is to defend religious freedom and traditional values.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh
Brett Michael Kavanaugh is an American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2018. Kavanaugh is a conservative jurist who is known for his originalist approach to constitutional interpretation. He has been a controversial figure since his nomination, with allegations of sexual misconduct surfacing during his confirmation hearings.

Judge Matthew Casmaric
Matthew Casmaric is a United States district judge for the Northern District of Texas. He was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2018. Casmaric is a conservative jurist who is known for his anti-abortion rulings. He was the judge who granted the plaintiffs' request in the case challenging the FDA's approval of Mifrapristone.

Q&A

  • What was the Supreme Court's decision regarding the challenge to Mifrapristone?

    The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the challenge, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they had not suffered any injury.

  • What are the implications of the Supreme Court's decision for access to abortion in the United States?

    The decision leaves in place the patchwork system of abortion access, with 14 states having near total abortion bans and other states allowing access to the medication. It is likely to be challenged again in the future, with states like Missouri, Idaho, and Kansas already planning to pursue legal action.

  • What are some of the other legal challenges to access to medication abortion?

    Other challenges include efforts to restrict the mailing of abortion pills and to limit the care that emergency physicians can provide to pregnant women in states with abortion bans.

  • What is the political climate surrounding abortion access in the United States?

    The political climate is highly polarized, with strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Republicans are generally opposed to abortion rights, while Democrats are generally supportive of them. The issue is likely to be a major focus of the 2024 presidential election.

  • What is the role of the FDA in regulating Mifrapristone?

    The FDA approved Mifrapristone in 2000 and has been regulating its use for over two decades. The agency has a rigorous process for approving drugs and has found Mifrapristone to be safe and effective.

  • What is the significance of the Supreme Court's decision in the context of the ongoing debate over abortion access?

    The decision is a significant development in the debate, but it is unlikely to be the final word on the issue. The fight over abortion access is likely to continue in the courts and in the political arena.

  • What is the role of telemedicine in providing access to medication abortion?

    Telemedicine allows patients to consult with doctors and other healthcare providers remotely, making it easier for them to access medication abortion services. However, there are legal challenges to the use of telemedicine for abortion care.

  • What is the role of the Alliance Defending Freedom in the debate over abortion access?

    ADF is a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that is known for its opposition to abortion rights. The group has been involved in a number of high-profile legal cases, including the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

  • What is the role of Judge Matthew Casmaric in the case challenging the FDA's approval of Mifrapristone?

    Casmaric is a conservative jurist who is known for his anti-abortion rulings. He was the judge who granted the plaintiffs' request in the case, but his decision was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Show Notes

In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled that the litigants did not have standing to bring the case. But there will more challenges to abortion access ahead, including another pending case this term.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, health policy correspondent Selena Simmons-Duffin, and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

The podcast is produced by Jeongyoon Han, Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

NPR Privacy Policy
Comments 
00:00
00:00
x

0.5x

0.8x

1.0x

1.25x

1.5x

2.0x

3.0x

Sleep Timer

Off

End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

Abortion Status Quo Remains For Now After Supreme Court Punt

Abortion Status Quo Remains For Now After Supreme Court Punt