Supreme Court Pushes Back Against Pro-Life Activists

( – The Supreme Court asked tough questions of the anti-abortion activists who brought a case before the high court over questions about the legality of mifepristone, a common pregnancy termination drug. Surprising observers, conservative justices had several critiques for the plaintiffs, including questions regarding their standing to bring the case as well as whether or not the court should override the FDA.

The arguments and questions before the court on Tuesday, March 26th, gave insight into some of the justices’ perspectives regarding the question. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito suggested the pills’ manufacturer, Danco, was pushing the case over financial concerns. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, also a conservative, spoke very little leading some observers to suggest he’s a potential swing vote on the issue.

The question before the court was whether or not the drug mifepristone should be legally accessible via mail orders. Quickly the justices scrutinized the standing of the plaintiffs, grappling for who amongst them had to deliver a partially aborted baby following use of the drug. The argument made by plaintiffs was that mail-in access to the drug could potentially force an ER doctor to complete an abortion in violation of their medical rights.

Justice Barrett asked Erin Hawley, a lawyer representing anti-abortion medical professionals, how many of their members were OB-GYNs who could theoretically face that situation. Barrett seemed skeptical of the claims and reasoning provided by Hawley.

The justices similarly scrutinized the rationale that these groups had a legal basis to challenge the FDA’s ruling on safety. The justices also pointed out that even if a doctor was in that situation, they could still invoke their existent rights to refuse to perform an abortion.

Plaintiffs also argued that the Comstock Act of the 19th century is also in violation which prohibits the mailing of “lewd” materials or products that can induce an abortion. The DOJ has previously issued a formal opinion that Comstock doesn’t have the authority to prohibit the mailing of abortion or contraceptive pills.

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