The Supreme Court Might Decide the Abortion Pill's Fate


What’s not to love about “abortion pill” RU-486? 17 percent of abortions in the US are medication abortions, which are less invasive than surgical abortions and easier to access in states that love restricting women’s reproductive choice. This alternative will obviously not do for a number of uterus-fearing state legislators, who hope to take the fight against medication abortion all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Over at Mother Jones, Kate Sheppard explains why pro-choice advocates are concerned that the Supreme Court will likely consider the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law that puts unnecessary barriers on oral medications for abortions, rendering them inaccessible to the majority of women in need. After Oklahoma’s governor signed the bullshit law in 2011, the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights sued, and won. Oklahoma lost a subsequent appeal to the state Supreme Court. Human rights: 2; Oklahoma: 0. But the state appealed to the big guns instead of conceding defeat, and the SCOTUS has indicated it’ll consider the case.

The trial court judge who ruled that the law was unconstitutional said that it was “so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that it can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those women who do.” Succinct! The state Supreme Court agreed. So why would the US Supreme Court revisit the case?

“All of this is making abortion rights advocates nervous, because the restriction was struck down, and to revisit it brings into question what might be permissible around medication abortion restrictions,” the Guttmacher Institute’s Elizabeth Nash told Mother Jones.

The decision won’t just impact Oklahoma — it’ll affect the 15 other states with laws that restrict medication abortions in the last few years. We’ll be watching (and abortion pill-popping).

[Mother Jones]

Image via Brandon Bourdages/Shutterstock.

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