The Supreme Court’s three liberal justices, denouncing their colleagues’ decision to eliminate the nationwide right to abortion, warned that returning this polarizing issue to the states would give rise to greater controversy. Among the looming disputes: Can states ban mail-order medication used to terminate pregnancies or bar their residents from traveling elsewhere to do so? “Far from removing the court from the abortion issue,” Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote in dissent, “the majority puts the court at the center of the coming ‘interjurisdictional abortion wars.’ ”The overturning of Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years is expected to trigger a new set of legal challenges for which there is little precedent, further roiling the bitter political landscape and compounding chaos as Republican-led states move quickly to curtail access to reproductive care. It is possible, if not probable, that one or both of these questions will eventually work its way back to the high court, reports the Washington Post.
As a result of the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortions — both the surgical procedure and via medication — are banned or mostly banned in 13 states. Several others are expected to follow in coming weeks. The Biden administration has pledged to ensure access to abortion medication, which is used in more than half of all terminated pregnancies, and prohibit states from preventing their residents from traveling out-of-state for care. More than a month after the Dobbs ruling, administration officials are still debating how they can deliver on that promise beyond the president’s executive order to protect access. A White House meeting Friday with public-interest lawyers was designed to encourage legal representation for those seeking or offering reproductive health services. Democratic leaders and liberal activists have called on President Biden to take bolder action, especially on medication abortion. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in an interview that he has directly urged the president to make clear that abortion providers in states controlled by Democrats should be able to ship pills to patients anywhere in the U.S., whether or not the patient’s state has enacted a ban. Pritzker advised the president to assert federal authority over the U.S. mail system, he said, and specify that no one will be prosecuted for prescribing or receiving pills.