Supreme Court Unpersuaded

March 27, 2024   |   Tags: , , , , ,
sipaphotoseighteen747004 | Michael Nigro/Sipa USA/Newscom

Oral arguments in abortion pill case: Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the abortion pill case it's currently considering, involving access to mifepristone, which is used in medical abortions up until 10 weeks gestation.

"The justices are examining rule changes in 2016 and 2021 that, among other things, made the drug available by mail and from a medical provider other than a doctor," reports The Washington Post. 

The majority of justices seemed skeptical "that the plaintiffs, who do not prescribe abortion pills or regularly treat abortion patients, even had standing to bring the challenge," per The New York Times. It seems the plaintiffs may have failed to make their case that they suffer concrete harm from mifepristone being widely available, though Erin Hawley—a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, and wife of Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), who was arguing before the court—made the case that, if women suffer from complications after taking mifepristone, pro-life doctors may be forced to choose between helping such patients and violating their deeply-held convictions.

But, "under federal law, no doctors can be forced against their consciences to perform or assist in an abortion, correct?" asked Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Elizabeth B. Prelogar, the solicitor general arguing on the government's behalf, said Hawley and co. did not "come within 100 miles of the kinds of circumstances this court has previously identified" as grounds for standing and disputed plaintiffs' arguments about the safety of the abortion pill. The remedy the plaintiffs seek—nationwide restrictions on mifepristone access—also seems unlikely to fly.

"This case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on an F.D.A. rule or any other federal government action," said Justice Neil Gorsuch yesterday.

Alabama referendum on IVF decision: In February, Alabama's state supreme court ruled, quite controversially, that frozen embryos deserve the same types of legal protections granted to children.

Yesterday, a woman named Marilyn Lands flipped a state House seat from red to blue after campaigning in opposition to the in vitro fertilization (IVF) decision and to restrictions on abortion (including sharing her own story of getting an abortion several decades ago, after doctors determined her baby would not live long outside the womb).

Republicans will, of course, still hold a majority in the statehouse, but it's an interesting outcome that provides more fodder for the hypothesis that abortion restrictions—and, in Alabama's case, IVF restrictions as well—are unpopular among most voters.

For pro-lifers like myself who favor restrictions on the procedure (contra most libertarians), this is disheartening, but a political reality with which we must contend.


Scenes from New York: Today, the Eric Adams administration started giving out prepaid debit cards to illegal immigrants who have entered the city. The program, which is slated to cost $53 million, aims to provide migrants the ability to secure their own food and necessities—via bodega or grocery store—to address the problem of wasted food in migrant shelters (which I covered in this section several months ago).

According to the city's Housing Preservation & Development office, "a family of four would be given $15,000 a year" under this program. "This cost-saving measure will replace the city's current system of providing non-perishable food boxes to migrant families staying in hotels, much of which is often discarded," said an Adams spokesperson. They claim up to $600,000 per month could be saved with the new program.

But this is an extraordinary amount of spending—underwritten by New York City taxpayers—doled out to an uncapped number of people who have not paid (and possibly will not pay) into the system. What happens when people respond to incentives and the number of illegal immigrants seeking government-provided money and shelter absolutely balloons?


QUICK HITS

  • Incredible scenes from student activists at Vanderbilt, who called 911 to get help for a…friend/activist who needed to change her tampon? Back story: The Vanderbilt Divest Coalition staged a sit-in in the chancellor's office "after an amendment to the Vanderbilt Student Government Constitution, which would prevent student government funds from going to certain businesses that support Israel, was removed by administration officials from a student ballot in late March," per The Tennessean. "Vanderbilt has established locations on campus where protesting is prohibited, including most of the perimeter of Kirkland Hall," which the protesters object to (and may be an interesting free speech dimension to the story), per The Vanderbilt Hustler. But the students, who fear arrest or disciplinary action if they leave the area they're occupying (including to go to the restroom), called 911 claiming that a fellow activist was experiencing the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome from leaving a tampon in for too long while protesting. "Ma'am, do you have an emergency?" asked the operator, in disbelief. "So you're telling me your friend in Kirkland needs an ambulance?!"
  • Yesterday "marks the 25th anniversary of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's conviction of second-degree murder for performing euthanasia on Thomas Youk, a Michigan man suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease," writes Jeffrey A. Singer for Reason. "Kevorkian, a medical pathologist, had been defying state laws by engaging in assisted suicide."
  • Related: "A Calgary judge has issued a ruling that clears the way for a 27-year-old woman to receive medical assistance in dying (MAID) despite her father's attempts through the courts to prevent that from happening," reports CBC. The father "believes his daughter 'is vulnerable and is not competent to make the decision to take her own life,' according to [the judge's] summary of the father's position." The daughter's only known, current diagnoses are autism and ADHD.
  • Chicago voters smartly rejected a proposal that would have hiked taxes on real estate transactions of $1 million or more.
  • Yes:

  • If I were a betting woman, I'd bet people self-report higher attendance:

The post Supreme Court Unpersuaded appeared first on Reason.com.


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