Editorial Excerpts, March 2024

Published: March 11, 2024

Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court finds itself at the center of a national case involving access to abortion, this time around the drug mifepristone, which along with misoprostol forms part of the regimen for a so-called medication abortion. Its ruling is expected in June, and that ruling should be clear, if only to help clean up the mess the Court created with its overturning of Roe v. Wade a year and a half ago.

For a body that had insisted its Dobbs ruling would finally and definitively send the question of abortion to the states, it has often found itself dragged back to the debate. This should come as no surprise; it was obvious even before Dobbs was leaked that the radical groups and officials hell-bent on taking away this medical choice from women would not be satisfied with doing so only within the confines of certain states. …

In this case, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine — a preposterously named organization that in contrast to its moniker is in fact seeking to do plenty of harm — and other pseudo-medical organizations are suing the Food and Drug Administration over its 2000 approval and subsequent use authorizations of mifepristone.

We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: No one — not one peer-reviewed study, not one serious medical group, not one government assessment — has ever determined that mifepristone is any more dangerous than thousands of other drugs on the market. In fact, the evidence has shown that it is safer than common medications like penicillin. …

New York Daily News, December 26, 2023

… Not only did the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, it did so with a stinging opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that called Roe “egregiously wrong from the start.”

The Court has also demonstrated ever-increasing contempt for the administrative state, striking down actions of federal agencies as overreaching, even where Congress has specifically delegated such authority. In the last several years alone, the Court blocked vaccine mandates issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, rolled back the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce clean water rules, and struck down student loan forgiveness measures by the Department of Education. …

Now, it’s also posed to turn its microscope on the FDA’s drug approval and regulation authority. If it upholds the lower court’s restrictions, what could come next? Halting or reversing FDA-approval for drugs and treatments for gender-affirming care? Restricting medical research and treatments based on stem cell research? Rolling back access to treatments for conditions primarily affecting the LGBTQ community or those from certain ethnic backgrounds? The possibilities are as endless as they are horrifying.

This case will show the nation and the world what this Supreme Court is really made of. Is it, like some critics claim, outcome driven in a way that flouts precedent and established statutory and constitutional analysis? Or will it respect Congress’s decision to let experts in the field be in charge of crucial decisions like whether or not a drug is safe and should be made available? The answer lies in the justices’ hands.

The Boston Globe, December 20, 2023