The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Lawsuit Aims at Reproductive Rights

Mar 6, 2023

A federal judge in Amarillo, Texas has been asked to rule on whether the abortion drug, mifepristone, can be banned nationally. Well-funded anti-abortion doctors filed a ridiculous petition, asking a judge to throw out FDA approval of this abortion medicine. The petition claims the medicine is unsafe because a woman might be harmed by it, but zero evidence of any woman harmed was provided.

They then went “venue shopping” to find the anti-abortion judge most likely to rule in their favor. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is who they picked. This one man will decide whether or not to overturn the decision made 23 years ago by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to legalize mifepristone.

Used in more than half of all abortions in the United States, mifepristone additionally is used to prevent deadly complications during a miscarriage and is widely used to treat Cushing’s Syndrome. Mifepristone is one of two abortion drugs currently in use. By design, through this lawsuit, counter-suits, and appeals, it is very likely this case will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Back when Roe was overturned, the Supreme Court said it took this move to "return the issue of Roe to the people’s elected representatives." Since then, in state-level ballot initiatives and referendums, "the people" have voted in favor of the right to abortion!

Now this lawsuit is putting the issue in front of a single anti-abortion judge whom "the people" never had a chance to vote for. This judge was appointed by Donald Trump and approved by the Senate.

This case asks federal courts to throw out the huge amount of work done by researchers, doctors, and scientists at the FDA that went into approving mifepristone. Instead, a non-medical judge will decide the future of women’s reproductive healthcare.

Why this lawsuit now? Medication abortion has become the main form of abortion in the U.S.—and thus the target for the next round of attacks. Already before Roe fell, about 64% of abortions at 10 weeks or earlier relied on abortion pills, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the fall of Roe, experts say that the share of medication abortions is likely much higher.

This judge is such an extremist, that it is widely expected that he will rule to ban mifepristone nationally. Surgical abortion would remain legal, and a second abortion pill would remain legal. The FDA would likely appeal or simply decide to ignore the ruling.

Manufacturers and distributors of the drug could ask the FDA to issue guidance to protect companies from prosecution. Corporations have gotten this type of protection in the past. But working women cannot rely on the bosses’ government. For protection, workers can only rely on each other and collective action.

The chaos of this constant assault on women’s reproductive healthcare is causing confusion. A January study by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed much uncertainty exists about whether or not abortion is legal in a particular state. A Kaiser Foundation researcher said, "We’re seeing the most movement within states on abortion laws I think that we’ve ever seen, even pre-Roe. There’s so much action happening on the state level and the public is having a hard time keeping up."

In states where abortion IS legal, 54% of women were unsure about it. As a result, a woman in a desperate situation might think she has no abortion options.

The overturning of Roe has led to women’s right to reproductive healthcare being under non-stop assault. Every day, ordinary people are fighting back against these Whack-A-Mole attacks. But these constant attacks will only stop when a social explosion happens—when women—the majority of the working class—decide they have had enough!