The Politicized Controversy of Abortion: Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine
The right to an abortion has been the center of political and legal debates since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022. The landmark case was decided in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization back in 2022. In Dobbs, the Supreme Court decided the United States Constitution does not grant women the right to an abortion. Since then, pro-choice organizations have attempted to protest the decision and push for a reversal. The states now have the power to control women's access to abortions and other forms of prenatal healthcare. More conservative states, such as Texas, have attempted to completely ban abortion access . In a large majority of states where a near-full ban exists, there are appeals pending to protest the constitutionality of the regulations. These appeals by pro-choice organizations are monumentally more difficult to win given the recent Dobbs decision. States feel more comfortable enforcing restrictions on abortions given they can cite Dobbs v. Jackson for evidentiary support.
However, the Biden Administration along with drug company Danco Laboratories, are demanding the Supreme Court discuss this controversial decision again, as they want a review of a Federal Appeals case. The case, Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, debated the usage of drugs in medical abortions and overall declared that Danco’s drug, mifepristone, is not legal to use anymore to terminate pregnancy . Mifepristone has been available and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use since 2000, with the conditions of approval shifting over the years . Last year, a group of medical professionals claimed the medication was unsafe, citing their own personal standards. They then began to protest the FDA’s approval of the drug. The U.S. District Judge found that the drug had substantial concerns with safety and previous testing, and therefore the court went on to suspend Mifepristone’s previously held FDA approval .
Danco Laboratories' main frustration with the suspension of their drug has to do with the Court exerting power over what they believe to be solely science-based issues . They expressed concern regarding the justice system’s “second-guessing” of FDA and pharmaceutical regulations, assessments, and guidelines . It was stressed by Danco that this unwarranted debate over previously approved FDA drugs will do more harm than good to both the scientific community and the public at large .
The context in which this appeals case is being debated is crucial to understanding the significance of it. Matthew Kacsmaryk, the Judge assigned to this case, has a record of voting more conservatively. His disapproval of the drug is not unaligned with his conservative beliefs, given conservatives commonly held views regarding limiting access to abortion. His political alignment is worthy of discussion, given the inherently political consequences of this ruling. Public discourse surrounding abortion rights has been only increasing in the past few years.
Since the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court has not officially spoken out regarding women’s right to an abortion. If the Court decides to hear the case, their decision will have a big impact on politics. Law and politics are inherently intersectional. A change in laws surrounding abortion can vastly shift circumstances for both parties for the next election cycle. Pending acceptance of the case by the court, oral arguments will commence in the Spring of next year, making the final decision date sometime around June 2024. The timing of the decision is significant, as June of next year will be in the middle of the 2024 presidential election. The right to an abortion has quickly become a politicized controversy, with both parties taking strongly opposing views and adamantly promoting their respective arguments. The court's decision to affirm or deny the review of Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine will give both parties new material to use during election season. The legal and political importance of this case promises an intriguing outcome, with the power to shift entire elections and healthcare access.