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Abortion at SCOTUS: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health

May 4, 2022

Abortion is among the most contentious issues in the country today. On December 1st, the Supreme Court will hear the first abortion case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was seated and cemented a solid 6-3 conservative majority on the bench. The case under consideration, Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, involves a Mississippi law banning all abortions over 15 weeks gestational age except in medical emergencies and in the case of severe fetal abnormality. In this case, Mississippi is asking the Court to overturn the long-standing precedent of Roe v. Wade. While the Supreme Court has considered other abortion cases involving state regulations, this is the first case that the high court has taken in which a state is directly asking the Court to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. This issue brief provides background on the legal challenges to the Mississippi law in the context of the Supreme Court abortion precedents, addresses the intersections with the litigation that has arisen from S.B. 8, the Texas 6-week abortion ban, and explains the potential outcomes and how they could impact access to abortion around the country.

The Intersection of State and Federal Policies on Access to Medication Abortion Via Telehealth

February 7, 2022

The Supreme Court's impending ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has renewed attention to medication abortion as a way to expand access to abortion in states protective of abortion access and to preserve access to abortion in states that seek to enact restrictive laws. In recent years, telehealth has been explored and tested as a way to expand access to medication abortion, with growing importance for communities with few abortion providers. This approach has gained additional attention given the need to limit in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.However, expanding access to medication abortion via telehealth has been limited by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restriction that had permitted only certified clinicians to dispense mifepristone at a health care setting.This brief outlines the intersection of federal policy regarding dispensing medication abortion with state laws regulating the provision of abortion services and mifepristone dispensing via telehealth and considers the implications of the recent FDA change in different states.