SCOTUS rules abortion pill to remain available across US, for now – National & International News – THU 13Jun2024



Supreme Court allows abortion pill to remain available across US, for now.

G7 leaders agree $50 billion Ukraine loan backed by seized Russian assets.


Supreme Court allows abortion pill to remain available across US, for now

In an unusual unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled to preserve current FDA rules allowing abortion pills to be shipped in the mail and prescribed through telehealth. The decision, penned by Trump-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, ruled that a group of anti-abortion physicians calling themselves the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. This is significant because two lower federal courts (4 federal judges total) had ruled in favor of the doctors’ argument that the FDA had been too hasty in approving the abortion drug mifepristone and that subsequent expansions of access by the FDA were similarly harmful.

The doctors were alleging that, hypothetically, they could be forced to perform emergency procedures on women who had used the drugs improperly or had complications after taking them, which would violate their rights of conscience. However, they could not produce a case in which any of the physicians in question had faced such a dilemma.

Kavanaugh’s decision wrote at length on the courts’ principle that a claimant in a lawsuit must show actual harm and show how that harm could be remedied through the courts. This was a warning to other potential activist plaintiffs (and activist jurists in lower courts) against advancing such speculative cases.

Other challenges still on the horizon

Today’s ruling was not on the merits of the doctors’ case. Kavanaugh’s decision did not evaluate their claims that the FDA had rushed approval of the drug and its protocols without undertaking due diligence as to potential harm. Three states, Idaho, Kansas and Missouri, are already bringing cases echoing these claims. It may yet be possible that the court could rule in their favor and significantly curtail the availability of mifepristone nationwide.

This ruling also does nothing to address legislative efforts in several states to ban telehealth providers from prescribing mifepristone in their states. Nor does it pose any legal challenge to a law recently passed in Louisiana that treats mifepristone and misoprostol as dangerous controlled substances.

Mifepristone, which brings about an abortion, is taken with misoprostol, which expels the fetus from the uterus. Studies have shown that the treatment is over 95% effective when used correctly with fewer than 1% of cases requiring further medical follow-up. Medication abortions account for the majority of abortions performed in the US, many of which women manage themselves at home.

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G7 leaders agree $50 billion Ukraine loan backed by seized Russian assets

At a G7 meeting in Italy, the leaders of the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, and Japan agreed on a plan to loan Ukraine $50 billion to aid its war effort against Russia and bolster its economy. The loan would be back on the interest accrued from roughly $300 billion in Russian assets that have been seized since the war began in February 2022.

The money will likely be disbursed this calendar year and will go towards Ukraine’s military, economic, humanitarian and reconstruction needs. The agreement is a win for Biden, who recently struggled to overcome opposition from the US Congress to further financial and military aid to Ukraine. This agreement, with backing from allies, should be some insurance against temporary shortfalls resulting from such political showdowns in the future. 

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