2020s: Roe v. Wade is overturned; Postal Service allowed to mail abortion medication

Since Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Gonzales v. Carhart, states have passed increasingly restrictive laws around abortion, including banning other specific abortion methods and introducing mandatory waiting periods and counseling, gestational limits, parental consent for minors, and compulsory ultrasounds.

On May 2, 2022, a leaked Supreme Court initial draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade inspired panic and protest amongst supporters of legal abortion and preliminary celebration for opponents of Roe; on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court released its ruling and Roe officially fell. In the aftermath of that decision, more than a dozen states banned most abortions and a number of others implemented prohibitive restrictions. 

But while the legal fight over abortion rights is still underway in many courtrooms, 2023 has brought with it two key wins for supporters: 

On Jan. 3, 2023, the FDA announced a new ruling allowing retail pharmacies to stock abortion pills. While a prescription will still be required to acquire the medication, the move represents a large expansion of access for the drugs—particularly for Mifepristone, which was previously available only from select providers and a few by-mail pharmacies. Now, all pharmacies can dispense the drugs (though they are not required to). 

The same day as the FDA ruling, the Justice Department posted online its decision ruling that the Postal Service can legally deliver abortion medication sent through the mail, even in states where abortion is banned. Other mail carriers, including FedEx and UPS, have also been cleared to deliver the pills. This latest ruling came as some states continue to clamp down on self-managed abortions, driving people seeking abortions to increasingly risky measures.

 

Related: What the Roe v. Wade reversal means for abortion access across America

Helena, MT- Senate Bill 154 made its way out of committee this week.

It attempts to remove the right to an abortion from the Montana Constitution, a right that's existed since a Supreme Court decision in 1999.  

One issue here, is that the legislature can't amend the constitution with a law. Even if this bill passes, it wouldn't hold up in court. 

U.S. Senator Jon Tester actually spoke out against this bill this week, reiterating his stance that a woman should have the right to make her own medical decision, and that this bill contradicts America's founding principle of freedom. 

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