Editorial Excerpts, September 2023

Published: September 11, 2023

This year, instead of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing a constitutional right to abortion, advocates of reproductive rights are observing the grim one-year mark since the Court overturned that ruling—and mapping out strategies for restoring abortion access where it was lost and preserving it where it still exists.

Rarely does the Court take away established rights, but that’s what the conservative majority of this Supreme Court did in its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, 2022, returning reproductive rights to the vagaries of state legislatures. …

Despite the chaos and grim statistics, poll after poll has shown that a majority of Americans support at least some level of abortion access—and that support has only increased, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, as people have had to confront the reality of no Roe-era protections.

Indeed, voters seem increasingly serious about making their elected officials support abortion access. In liberal and conservative states, voters have demonstrated a striking determination to enshrine the right to abortion in their state’s constitutions, including California and Vermont where abortion protections are already robust. But voters in purple Michigan also approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to abortion. And in Kansas, Democratic and Republican voters together decisively voted down an amendment that would have stated the Constitution did not protect abortion rights.

Going into the next year, the best way out of this nearly dystopian world is through the ballot box. …

Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2023 (full editorial)

It’s been 63 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first oral contraceptive. The passing decades have demonstrated birth control pills’ safety and effectiveness. Currently, more than 100 countries allow women to buy them without a prescription.

Americans deserve the same ease of access. That’s why a recent move by the FDA to make one type of oral contraceptive—a medication called Opill—available without a prescription merits praise, even if its availability is long overdue in the U.S. …

Insurance plans that covered oral contraceptives prior to the FDA’s decision will still cover prescription-only pills. That is one option for those who have a health plan but may struggle with Opill’s price. But other solutions are necessary for those who want to use Opill but don’t have coverage or find its cost daunting.

One potential congressional remedy is a bill that would require private health insurance plans to cover over-the-counter birth control without any out-of-pocket costs to the policyholder. The Affordability Is Access Act has yet to gain sufficient traction at the U.S. Capitol, but has some influential Democratic cosponsors, including Minnesota Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. …

Preventing as many unintended pregnancies as possible is a goal that should unite Americans. Making birth control more broadly available is foundational to that, which is why solutions should be explored expeditiously to prevent Opill’s cost from becoming a new hurdle to those taking the responsible step of using reliable birth control.

Star Tribune, July 20, 2023 (full editorial)