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SC House Passes Another 6-Week Abortion Ban; U.S. Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Abortion Pill Case

HeadlineMay 18, 2023

The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a six-week abortion ban. The bill now goes to the Senate. Earlier this year, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down a previous six-week ban, but Republicans hope the new effort will be successful as the Supreme Court’s lone woman justice has since retired and was replaced with a right-wing male judge.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court appears likely to restrict access to the abortion pill mifepristone, the most commonly used abortion method in the U.S. The three conservative judges on the panel, who were appointed by former Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush, grilled the Justice Department and drugmaker Danco Laboratories over the medication’s approval by the FDA over two decades ago, and more recent efforts to expand patient access. This is Justice Department attorney Sarah Harrington being questioned by Judge James Ho.

Sarah Harrington: “The district court’s order is an unprecedented and unjustified attack on FDA’s scientific expertise. This court should vacate the order because plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail on any of their claims, and because the balance of equities tips decidedly against preliminary relief.”

Judge James Ho: “I hate to cut you off so early, but you’ve said 'unprecedented.' We had a challenge to the FDA just yesterday.”

Sarah Harrington: “You had a challenge to the FDA, yes, but I don’t think there’s ever been any court that has vacated FDA’s determination that a drug is safe to be on the market.”

The Intercept reports U.S. Marshals spied on abortion protesters following the repeal of Roe v. Wade, using AI software from the social media monitoring company Dataminr, which is an “official partner” of Twitter.

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