The United States Supreme Court may soon review and rule on three abortion-related cases.
Thanks in large part to the addition of three new conservative-leaning justices under President Donald Trump, the SCOTUS ruled last year to overturn the federal abortion rights precedent set by Roe v. Wade.
The move saw the regulation of the procedure return to the individual states.
Now a little more than a year since that monumental decision, the Supreme Court is poised to potentially take up and rule upon three significant abortion-related cases.
The cases could end up before the justices during the second half of the current term, according to The Hill.
The first of those involves a challenge against Idaho’s restrictions on abortions, the second is regarding federal approval of a common abortion-inducing drug, and the third deals with local laws that bar pro-life advocates from approaching people within a certain proximity to abortion clinics.
Time magazine reported this week that Idaho filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court seeking intervention to uphold and restore its abortion restrictions that took effect last year after Roe v. Wade was overturned but was immediately challenged and blocked by the lower courts.
That law, for the most part, bans all abortions in the state with the usual exceptions for victims of incest and rape or when the life of the mother is endangered, but also allows for punitive action by the state against doctors who perform abortions, up to and including license revocation and prosecution.
The Biden administration sued on the argument that the state law contradicts and interferes with certain federal laws and a district court judge agreed and blocked Idaho from enforcing the law.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit disagreed and reimposed the law, but were subsequently reversed by the full 9th Circuit earlier in November, setting up the emergency petition that, per The Hill, could be accepted or rejected within a matter of days.
SCOTUSblog reported in September that the Biden administration and pharmaceutical company Danco, the manufacturer of abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, petitioned the Supreme Court to review and address a 5th Circuit panel’s decision to restore prior limitations on access to the drug.
That decision followed a district court’s ruling earlier in the year to suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s initial 2000 approval of the drug, as well as later expansions of public access to it in 2016 and 2021, based upon a finding that the federal agency had ignored “legitimate safety concerns” about the drug.
The 5th Circuit had partially upheld that ruling in that it agreed the later expansion of access was likely unlawful but restored the initial FDA approval and conditions governing access and use of the drug.
However, a stay was issued by the Supreme Court in April that temporarily placed the entire matter on hold and the justices could decide in a conference next week whether or not to take up the underlying case, according to The Hill.
In August, the Catholic News Agency reported that more than a dozen Republican-led states and numerous pro-life organizations joined together to petition the Supreme Court to address and strike down local laws that restrict the free speech of pro-life individuals in the vicinity of abortion clinics.
At the heart of the case is an activist who sued New York’s Westchester County over a law that prohibits pro-life advocates from even approaching, much less providing anti-abortion counseling to women within 100 feet of an abortion clinic.
Violation of that so-called “bubble” or “buffer zone” is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
That law was passed in the wake of Roe being overturned.
It is largely based on a similar law in Colorado that was previously upheld in a 2000 Supreme Court ruling — one that Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from at the time and has since referenced as an incorrect precedent that needs to be overturned.
According to The Hill, the Supreme Court could decide during a Friday conference whether or not to take up the case challenging the Westchester County “buffer zone” law.
The outlet noted that the high court has seemingly avoided substantially addressing any abortion-related cases after Roe was overturned last year, but that will likely soon change as the chances are good that the justices will decide to pick up at least one, if not all three, of these particular petitions.