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Roe Anniversary Underscores Ongoing Need to Protect Reproductive Rights and Women’s Health In the Courts

By January 22, 2024No Comments

Fifty-one years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Constitution grants bodily autonomy and protects the right to reproductive health care as part of their decision in Roe v. Wade. However, Donald Trump’s ultra-conservative Supreme Court overturned this long-standing precedent in June 2022, leaving regulation of reproductive health care to the states. Now, MAGA Republicans are fighting for a national abortion ban, affirming that the fight for safe and reliable reproductive health care is far from over.

Two cases are being considered now that could further disrupt access to reproductive health care, including abortion, across the nation. Both cases are backed by the same conservative activists who oppose abortion rights, women’s health, LGBTQI+ rights, and affordable health care. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA threatens to revoke access to Mifepristone, which is used for medication abortions, while also compromising the entire FDA drug approval system that ensures access to safe, lifesaving medications. Braidwood v. Becerra seeks to eliminate access to free preventive care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a benefit relied on by more than 150 million Americans. If this case succeeds, access to free contraception and pregnancy-related care could be eliminated.

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA 

Judge Matthew Kacysmaryk, a federal judge in Texas, revoked authorization for Mifepristone, a safe and effective medication essential for abortion access that was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago. The ruling in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts at risk not only the use of mifepristone for safe and legal medication abortions for millions of women, but it opens the door for the politically-motivated removal of other safe and effective drugs from the market — throwing the entire U.S. drug approval process into chaos.

Experts fear that a wide range of approved medicines could be targeted, including contraceptives, or any class of medicines that may be politically unpopular. Kacsmaryk was the first federal judge to endorse an attack on the right to contraception after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court will schedule its upcoming term which includes Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA.

Anti-abortion advocates, represented by a far-right legal organization, brought suit before this specific judge in Amarillo, Texas, with the sweeping aim of achieving a nationwide ban and the ability to go after contraceptives next.

Read Protect Our Care’s report on Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA.

Braidwood v. Becerra

In March 2023, radical District Judge Reed O’Connor struck down a provision of the ACA that requires insurers to cover lifesaving preventive services without cost-sharing — protection relied on by 150 million Americans. Over two-thirds of the Affordable Care Act’s preventive care for women, infants, and children would be eliminated, including prenatal care and contraception coverage.

The ruling puts millions at the mercy of insurance companies and employers, who could eliminate the benefits entirely or start charging for them, increasing patient costs and creating major obstacles to care.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has tentatively scheduled oral arguments in this case for the week of March 4, 2024.

This lawsuit is being driven by extremist, longtime foes of the ACA and objections by employers to mandates that they cover services like contraception.

Watch Protect Our Care’s event with the American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association, and legal expert Andrew Pincus on Braidwood v. Becerra.

Read Protect Our Care’s report The MAGA Republican War on Health Care for more details on both cases.