CT leaders 'encouraged' after Supreme Court abortion pill hearing

Abortion opponents argued that mifepristone is unsafe – even though the Food and Drug Administration approved it two decades ago.

John Craven and Associated Press

Mar 26, 2024, 8:46 PM

Updated 24 days ago


Connecticut’s attorney general said he’s “encouraged” about the future of a popular abortion pill, after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled that it will keep mifepristone on the market on Tuesday.
Abortion opponents argued that mifepristone is unsafe – even though the Food and Drug Administration approved it two decades ago.
“Without question, the FDA’s actions have made taking chemical abortion drugs less safe,” said Erin Hawley, who argued the case for the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.
In nearly 90 minutes of arguments, a consensus appeared to emerge that Hawley’s group lacks the legal right, or standing, to sue.
“The justices are likely leaning toward dismissing the case on the basis of standing,” said Quinnipiac Law School professor Wayne Unger. “Which means that the plaintiffs in the case – the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine – doesn’t have sufficient injury to be in court in the first place.”
Even three justices who voted to overturn Roe posed skeptical questions. Justices Amy Coney Barrett seemed to doubt that the doctors identified by Hawley could show that were actually harmed by the FDA’s actions.
“The difficulty, to me, is that the affidavits do read more like conscience objections,” Barrett said.
If the Supreme Court dismisses the case, the current rules would stay in place allowing patients to receive the drug through the mail – without any need for an in-person visit with a doctor – and to take the medication to induce an abortion through 10 weeks of pregnancy. Should the court take the no-standing route, it would avoid the more politically sensitive aspects of the case.
The court is likely to issue a ruling in June.
Moments after arguments wrapped up, Connecticut leaders expressed cautious optimism. Democratic Attorney General William Tong said the case is about far more than an abortion pill.
“This is an attempt to affect a nationwide ban on abortion. Period. Full stop.” he told reporters. “What business is it of the plaintiffs what a woman in Connecticut does with her own body? It is none of their damn business."
In Connecticut, almost two-thirds of all abortions are induced through medicine.
Liz Gustafson had one six years ago.
“Because I knew then, and I still know now, just how safe and effective medication abortion is, I made a decision that was best for my circumstances,” said Gustafson, who is now the Connecticut director for Reproductive Equity Now.
Some state lawmakers want to go a step further -- guaranteeing abortion rights in the state constitution. A key legislative committee advanced the idea Tuesday evening. But if it ultimately passes, although voters would have the final say.

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