Supreme Court justices are slated to delve into disputes surrounding abortion during their final session this year, revealing the legal battlefronts forming in the wake of the high court’s stunning decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Several key cases are headed to the justices. One is Idaho’s emergency request to fully enforce its abortion law, a ruling that is possible as soon as this week.
At the justices’ Friday conference, they are scheduled to consider whether to take up an appeal seeking to overturn a Supreme Court precedent allowing laws that ban anti-abortion activists from approaching people outside abortion clinics. And at next week’s conference, the justices are slated to review whether to take up the dispute over the availability of mifepristone, the common abortion pill, which they will take up at a Dec. 8 closed-door conference.
Agreeing to hear that dispute would mark the highest-stakes abortion case since last year’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned decades of constitutional abortion protections.
In April, a Trump-appointed federal judge suspended approval of the drug, which is used in more than half of all abortions nationwide. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled the pill, which was approved by the FDA in 2000, could remain on the market, but the panel upheld portions of the earlier decision, rolling back changes the FDA made since 2016, which eased access. The 5th Circuit ruled the FDA acted improperly when it said mifepristone can be used up to 10 weeks of pregnancy rather than seven, allowed the medication to be mailed to patients, lowered the dosage and permitted providers other than physicians to prescribe the drug.