Over-the-Counter Birth Control Is Here

The FDA approved the birth control pill Opill to be available over-the-counter—the first nonprescription birth control pill in the U.S. It is expected to be available in stores and online beginning early next year.

“Today’s decision is a huge deal for women in America—and finally, some good news in the fight to allow women to make their own decisions about their health care,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.). “The fight to expand access to contraception is even more important today in a world without Roe, and over the counter birth control is going to be a real game-changer.”

Texas Case Shows How Abortion Bans Facilitate Domestic Abuse

Brittni Silva found out she was pregnant after filing for divorce from Marcus Silva in May of 2022.

Marcus recently sued his wife’s friends for helping her obtain an abortion. The man has a long history of coercive control—a type of domestic abuse that can include isolation, manipulation, monitoring, intimidation and verbal, legal, physical and sexual abuse. The Silva case illustrates how this state coercion adds another weapon to an abuser’s controlling arsenal.

Healthcare Providers File Federal Lawsuit to Expand Abortion Pill Access

On May 8, abortion providers in Virginia, Montana and Kansas filed a federal lawsuit against the FDA seeking an order to maintain and expand access to mifepristone, one of two drugs commonly used for early abortion and miscarriage.

“It is critical that abortion providers and patients obtain certainty in light of the chaos that is currently surrounding mifepristone,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who filed the lawsuit.

The Dobbs Decision Could Erode Other Women’s Rights—Making the ERA More Important Than Ever

Dobbs v. Jackson was a clear indication that the Supreme Court will allow states broader latitude to pass laws that discriminate against women. This new reality makes final recognition of the Equal Rights Amendment more important than ever.

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2023 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get the issue delivered straight to your mailbox!)

GenBioPro Sues FDA to Keep Generic Mifepristone on the Market

GenBioPro—the pharmaceutical company that makes a generic version of the abortion pill mifepristone—sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday, April 19, in Maryland federal court, where the agency is headquartered. The suit seeks an order to compel the FDA to allow GenBioPro to continue to sell the medication in the United States.

“Once a drug has been through the rigorous FDA review process and received approval, federal law protects the right to market the drug,” said GenBioPro CEO Evan Massingill. “GenBioPro will use all regulatory and legal tools to protect access to mifepristone for patients and providers.”

Student-Athletes Can Now Sue Discriminatory Universities for Money Damages, a Victory for Title IX

U.S. District Court Judge Todd W. Robinson ruled that the female student-athletes suing San Diego State University (SDSU) for violating Title IX can pursue claims for equal athletic financial aid, equal treatment and retaliation. The decision is the first in the nation to hold that female student-athletes can sue their schools for damages.

“SDSU has been cheating its female student-athletes out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in equal athletic financial aid each year… And it blatantly retaliated against its female student-athletes for standing up for their rights. Now, it can be held accountable.”

As Supreme Court Weighs Next Steps on Abortion Pill, Protesters Rally in Support of Abortion Rights

As the Supreme Court weighs its options on the abortion pill mifepristone, abortion and women’s rights supporters across the U.S. are protesting the latest efforts to restrict access to abortion. Protests took place this weekend in small and large cities, including Amarillo and Dallas, Texas; Chicago; Detroit; Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Calif.; New York City; Seattle; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital.

The continued contradictory orders of various courts have escalated the issue to the Supreme Court. A decision could come any day. In Dobbs, the Court said that abortion “must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.” It remains to be seen if the Court really meant what they said.

Supreme Court Blocks Fifth Circuit Ruling, Allowing Mifepristone to Stay on the Market as Case Proceeds

In a shadow docket ruling late on Friday, April 21, the Supreme Court has decided to block a previous ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from taking effect, allowing the abortion pill mifepristone to remain on the market under current rules.

“While SCOTUS offered temporary relief, the fate of a medication approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago should have never been before the Supreme Court to begin with,” said Kirsten Moore of Expanding Medication Abortion Access Project.

Circuit Court Rules Abortion Pill Can Remain on the Market, but With Limitations That Could Restrict Access

In a divided opinion issued late Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the abortion medication mifepristone will remain approved for use throughout the United States, but only up to seven weeks of pregnancy when a doctor dispenses the medication in person. This ruling, if allowed to stand and followed, would significantly impair access to abortion throughout the United States.

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision to roll back recent measures that have ensured greater access to medication abortion care undermines the FDA’s authority and science, all while real people pay the price,” said Morgan Hopkins, president of All* Above All.

Federal Courts in Texas and Washington Release Contradictory Rulings. Abortion Pills Remain on the Market—For Now

On Friday, April 7, federal judges in both Texas and Washington state issued contradictory rulings on the abortion pill mifepristone. 

Federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas ruled that the FDA improperly approved mifepristone and ordered the agency to remove mifepristone from the market by April 14. One hour later, fellow federal judge Thomas O. Rice in the Eastern District of Washington issued an injunction blocking the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of mifepristone.”