Thursday, June 13, 2024

Bodily autonomy faces legal battles

By Bryn Fawn

Bodily autonomy has been an ever-growing concern for American citizens. The discussion heavily revolves around access to abortion, birth control and reproductive healthcare.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas suspended the approval of Mifepristone, a pill used for abortions. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug for more than 20 years, but Kacsmaryk ruled against it April 7, giving a short window for appeals to be made against the ruling.

A prescription from a doctor is required to be able to take Mifepristone. The drug is also called Korlym and Mifeprex. The medication can terminate pregnancies 10 weeks or less, but it can also be used to help regulate high blood sugar in type 2 diabetics with Cushing Syndrome. 

Another judge, Thomas O. Rice of Washington, ruled that the FDA cannot remove Mifepristone from shelves, hours after Kacsmaryk’s ruling, due to citizens having the right to access to the drug.

The ban of Mifepristone is not the first legislative attack on abortion rights in Texas. It is illegal to have an abortion in the state currently. However, more than half of all abortions are performed with the help of Mifepristone, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. 

“If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks,” President Joe Biden said in a statement following Kacsmaryk’s decision. “If it stands, it would prevent women in every state from accessing the medication, regardless of whether abortion is legal in a state. It is the next big step toward the national ban on abortion that Republican elected officials have vowed to make law in America.”

If the ban continues, there would be no place in the U.S. where it would be legal to acquire Mifepristone. It would leave more invasive, costly and time-sensitive methods as the only options for abortion — if they’re legal in that state at all.

Appeals have already been filed.

This single ruling alone is terrifying for women in America, and also Americans with uteruses, but it demonstrates the lengths conservatives will go to regulate and control American bodies. 

The U.S. has been headed in this direction for years now, but as of late the snowball has only grown larger. As the 2024 election cycle approaches, it is uncertain how desperate Republicans will become to gain support from voters. 

It is becoming more imperative to find unity with peers and push against these restrictive laws to eject these power-hungry politicians and judges from their seats of power. Once abortion has been fully wiped from American freedoms, there is no telling what is next on the chopping block.

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