2 Things to Read About Tuesday's Supreme Court Case on the Abortion Pill

Abortion is back at the Supreme Court this week and it's going to remain a state issue right? [laughs nervously]

2 Things to Read About Tuesday's Supreme Court Case on the Abortion Pill
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

Hello there I've been busy writing for other places and neglecting this newsletter! I'm sorry but I have to buy my own health insurance now!!

On Tuesday, March 26, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether to restrict telemedicine access to the abortion drug, mifepristone and the court's eventual ruling would apply nationwide. It's a big, big deal because nearly two-thirds of abortions last year were done with pills. Mifepristone is safer than lots of other drugs on the market—and, not for nothing, it's also safer than pregnancy and childbirth.

I've written a TON about this case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, and I have two new pieces about it that will help people understand what's going on, and the longer-term goals of the anti-abortion movement.

The first piece is an FAQ about the case in Jezebel that explains how we got here and all the suspicious things involved in the lawsuit. This case has everything: a shady judge, retracted studies, a Victorian anti-vice law, and a dark money group that keeps manufacturing cases. It's a cooked-up case to try to force people to travel to a shrinking number of abortion clinics, where they'll likely face protestors and might get duped into walking into a crisis pregnancy center, rather than get pills in the mail.

The second piece is a reported story in The New Republic that digs deeper into the potential fallout of a wild legal argument made by the anti-abortion doctors suing the FDA. The doctors and their lawyers, the Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, want the Supreme Court to say that telemedicine of mifepristone has to stop because it violates the Comstock Act of 1873. That's the Victorian law mentioned above and it made it a federal crime to possess or mail "obscene" items, including abortifacients specifically.

Heritage Foundation ghouls want a future Trump administration to enforce Comstock to ban mifepristone nationwide (see: Project 2025). But thanks to another Supreme Court case argued a decade ago this week, Trump could also use Comstock to ban morning-after pills and IUDs because of the anti-abortion movement's false belief that they cause abortions. Justice Samuel Alito dropped little breadcrumbs for them in his opinion in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, the case where the bigot craft store chain owners didn't want to cover certain forms of birth control. Thanks, Sam.

Here's a little thread on this story, which I have been thinking of as mifepristone case x Hobby Lobby x Comstock Act:

The good people at TNR slugged the story as "nightmare fuel." That is the best description of my beat I've ever heard.

It's almost as if Democrats should move to repeal Comstock and then campaign on it! I say as much at the end of the TNR story :)


  • Earlier this month, I did get Sen. Elizabeth Warren to say something about Congressional action on Comstock, but, like, why not try to repeal it now?
  • If you like reading about how Alliance Defending Freedom is Bad, you'll enjoy my recent piece in Balls & Strikes, which is a good blog.
  • Yes I am still on Twitter but I am posting my big stories and as well as silly shit that I'm not giving to Elon on both Bluesky and Threads.
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