After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the U.S. experienced an influx of anti-abortion policies in state and federal courts alike. Lawmakers have outlawed abortions in almost 25 states, with others limiting access. It is an incredibly scary time for those assigned females at birth because of these restrictions on our reproductive rights.
Recent rulings and discussions surrounding abortion pills are also rising.
The two drugs used for medical abortions involve misoprostol and mifepristone, which blocks the hormones progesterone and misoprostol, which induces contractions. The ban on medical abortions would outlaw the use of mifepristone in every state — even in those where abortion is legal and protected. The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone over 20 years ago, proving its efficiency and safety, according to the ACLU.
Abortion pills are under fire because of a lawsuit filed in November 2022 by the conservative Christian law firm Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The firm aims to overturn the FDA approval of mifepristone nationwide.
The suit claims the FDA did not properly assess mifepristone’s safety. The FDA approved the drug in 2000, and it should not have made the medication accessible via telehealth, according to NBC.
The AHM filed the lawsuit in Amarillo, Texas, and federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk took the case. He was appointed to the bench by President Donald Trump in 2019 and is a religious liberty lawyer who worked on anti-abortion causes.
Kacsmaryk’s appointment clearly shows a bias when it came to the lawsuit and his decision to side with the AHM and the doctors represented, even going as far as to completely revoke the FDA’s authorization of mifepristone in early April, according to Texas Tribune.
The fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came up with a compromise to Kacsmaryk’s ruling. Mifepristone would remain approved, but old limitations on its use would come back.
The drug would only be used up to seven weeks of pregnancy instead of 10, would not be sent through the mail and providers would need to require three in-person visits to prescribe the medications. The Supreme Court blocked these new guidelines for the time being.
The notably pro-life doctors at the head of the lawsuit involved in the suit allege treating patients for the adverse effects of abortion pills has made them susceptible to malpractice claims, created unnecessary stress for them in emergency situations, and used their time and resources that could be used for other purposes. However, FDA lawyers asserted the plaintiffs did not adequately show that its approval of mifepristone harmed them, even going as far as to call the doctors’ claims “absurd”, according to NBC.
It begs the question of if these doctors allow their own personal views to bleed into other parts of their practices and if they are just as bothered by other common problems that arise for the everyday individual when entering a doctor’s office, such as the common cold or a broken bone. Would they go to court for those repeated ailments for the same reasons?
In a study conducted by three scientists from Gynuity Health Projects, the systematic review found misoprostol alone to be effective and safe. The medicine is a practical option for women seeking abortion in the first trimester. Misoprostol had a 0.7% risk of major complications, whereas the two-pill regimen has a lower risk, proving both drugs to be safe despite the AHM’s claims.
In March, Whole Woman’s Health opened a new clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Every patient treated there has been from Texas, aside from one person from Arizona. WWH also operates an abortion fund that helps relieve the cost of traveling out of state for a procedure not readily available to them on their own, proving just how much people need help and resources right now, according to KRQE.
One of the many benefits of a medical abortion instead of a surgical one is the cost. Surgical abortions are incredibly expensive. Insurance coverage aside, the typical cost of a medication abortion at Planned Parenthood is around $580, while a surgical abortion is $600 to $2,000.
Unfortunately, there are also many negative implications to this unfair ruling and the legal limbo we find ourselves in, such as an influx of calls and people rushing to abortion clinics across the country to states where it is still legal.
It will make waits longer because mailing medication for abortion and conducting appointments using telehealth allowed the clinics to free up the space for people unable to do it online. It has set back clinics and those with female reproductive organs across the country. Public health and women’s rights should not be a political, hotly debated issue.
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