As predicted, the abortion rights debate has now become everyone’s crisis.
Millions of Americans sympathize with the plight of women turned into second-class citizens by the so-called Supreme Court Dobbs decision. The radical 2022 high-court ruling ended the decades-old Roe-vs-Wade protection of women’s medical privacy and equality.
What’s happened since was ensuing chaos widely predicted as states ruled by far-right conservative legislatures began invoking women’s healthcare restrictions with all the zeal and consideration of the Taliban.
In states like Texas, Florida and Idaho, it’s been a race to the bottom to turn back the clock to a time when American women were treated like livestock, and not people. It continues to become worse almost daily in Republican-held legislatures across the country. That, despite the unwavering opinion of Americans insisting that abortion is health care, and an issue to be decided by women and their health care providers — not politicians and government officials.
Since the Dobbs decision, the nation has seen a marked increase in the growing majority of Americans who consider themselves pro-choice, currently 55% — up 7 points in two years. The number of Americans who consider themselves pro-life has dropped dramatically, from 47% to 39% during that same time, according to recent Gallup polling results.
While pundits make it clear that abortion rights has driven many voters in the past year, across the country, to choose candidates seeking to protect women’s rights to healthcare, anti-abortion rights legislators and governors persist in decimating women’s liberty.
In states like Texas, women face critical illness and death suffering from ectopic pregnancies, unable to receive proper medical care.
And now, an activist Trump-appointed judge in Amarillo, Texas has taken the abortion-rights fight to a level that endangers the rights and health of not just millions of American women facing pregnancy, but every one of us.
Anti-abortion zealots have shopped a lawsuit to lone Federal District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo.
“Why Amarillo?” the Associated Press writes in explaining the importance of the case. “Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is the sole district court judge there, ensuring that all cases filed in the west Texas city land in front of him. Since taking the bench, he has ruled against the Biden administration on several other issues, including immigration and LGBTQ protections.”
The very definition of an activist judge, Kacsmaryk ruled that the FDA more than 20 years ago mistakenly approved mifepristone, a drug used in medical abortions.
Courts don’t approve drugs, the FDA does.
What anti-abortion zealots are trying to do is allow the courts to usurp the role of the government in regulating medications. Either accidentally or by design, the case would set a perilous precedent in allowing politics to dictate American healthcare instead of science.
If successful in pursuing this activist role promoting both legal and medical quackery, every pharmaceutical decision made by the FDA would be subject to the whims of every other madcap federal judge in the country.
Immediately, the ruling could end women’s access to the provenly safe drug even in states outside of Texas, increasing the reach of Texas anti-abortion zealots into Colorado and across the nation.
It’s almost certain the case will land in the Supreme Court, where a bench purposely filled with anti-abortion activist justices could likely rule as illogically and dangerously here as they did in overturning Roe vs Wade last year.
This is a job for Congress. Lawmakers must make clear that women’s healthcare is no more a matter for the whims of misogynist lawmakers than that of men.
Personal attitudes about abortion should not defeat the right to medical privacy any more than medical care for the elderly fighting cancer or children seeking corrective surgery.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court and this Amarillo judge have ruled, women have a right to medical privacy just like everyone else, and Congress has a duty to ensure it.