SCOTUS announces possible abortion drug restricting; final decision expected by June

CHARLOTTE — The nationwide debate over both the abortion procedure and legal access to it is about to enter its next heated phase, with another crucial decision hanging in the balance.

Just this past week, justices with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) said they would consider restricting access to a widely used abortion drug called Mifepristone. That decision puts a hold on a lower court judge’s ruling earlier this year that removed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 23-year-old approval of the drug.

North Carolina District 2 Representative Deborah Ross highlighted the importance of having an FDA-approved medicine and that the medicine is not only used for abortions. She continued by advocating for women’s reproductive freedom and how that will be limited if drug access is heavily restricted.

“We need to make sure that an FDA-approved medication that is used both for safe legal abortions and in so many cases of miscarriages cannot simply be taken off the shelf,” Ross said. “This is a nationwide issue for the health of women and our reproductive freedom; it is also an issue for how we rely on drugs and whether or not people can come in and simply take drugs off the market.”

Congresswoman Ross says she believes anti-abortion activists shopped for a judge who would be sympathetic to their cause. That’s why she plans to reinforce a bill she filed back in June, which would require a three-judge panel to preside over any case that requires national relief.

Ross sees SCOTUS’ announcement as a chance for those supporting access to safe, legal abortions, despite the court’s conservative lean.

“Make no mistake, this court is not a fan of reproductive freedom,” Ross said. “I am hopeful that it’s a friendly court when it comes to certainty about FDA-approved medications.”

A final decision on the Mifepristone issue is expected in June, putting abortion access at the forefront of voters’ minds in the middle of campaign season for the 2024 November general election.

“We’ve seen referenda and elections around the country reflect that a majority of people believe that we should have safe, legal abortions,” Ross said.

(WATCH BELOW: After having illegal abortion 50 years ago, NC woman fears impact of 12-week ban)

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.