The Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade unleashed a wave of cases pertaining to abortion.

Tuesday will mark the Supreme Court’s first abortion case since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, drastically altering the landscape of reproductive rights in the United States. Think about how much the nation has changed as a result of the justices’ ruling: Currently, access to abortion is severely restricted in seven states and completely prohibited in fourteen. Some states that forbid abortion are attempting to prevent the importation of abortion drugs and, in addition, are attempting to overturn a federal statute that permits ER doctors to end a pregnancy when it is medically necessary. Additionally, some, including President Joe Biden, linked an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that affected in vitro fertilization—a procedure meant to begin rather than stop a pregnancy—to the Court’s infringement on a woman’s right to privacy when it overturned the Roe decision. Abortion has surged to the top of election-year political agendas, with Democrats hoping that public outcry over restrictions will continue to benefit their candidacies.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has raised the possibility of outlawing abortion nationwide at 15 weeks of pregnancy. The public’s perception of the Supreme Court has deteriorated throughout. The justices will consider a dispute on Food and Drug Administration regulations regarding access to the abortion drug mifepristone on Tuesday, against this culturally charged backdrop. A group of doctors who oppose abortion have filed a lawsuit against the FDA, arguing that the agency’s evaluation of the drug’s safety was flawed and that it had improperly removed “critical safeguards” for its usage. The organization seeks to restrict women’s access to the pill, which is one of two medications used to abort a fetus in its first few weeks of life and is now the most popular method of pregnancy termination in the United States. Two of the most contentious clauses are one from 2016 that extends the drug’s use beyond seven weeks of pregnancy to ten, and another from 2021 that allows women to get their prescriptions via mail instead of in person.

Medication abortion has caused an unanticipated increase in abortions since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which overruled Roe. In the United States, over a million abortions were performed last year—a 10% rise from 2020 and the highest rate in over ten years. In its written brief in the new case, the Biden administration, defending the FDA, had not once mentioned the Dobbs ruling. This could have been done to sidestep a potential constitutional hot spot and highlight the larger implications of government control and expertise. Rather, it centers on the procedure for approving drugs. Referring to a federal appellate court’s 2023 ruling against the FDA, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices, “To the government’s knowledge, this case marks the first time any court has restricted access to an FDA approved drug by second-guessing FDA’s expert judgment about the conditions required to assure that drug’s safe use.” Prelogar stated that more than 5 million American women had used mifepristone to terminate their pregnancies since the medication was originally approved for sale in 2000.

But organizations that have submitted “friend of the court” filings point to Dobbs and the events that have transpired in the United States since the Supreme Court struck down almost fifty years’ worth of abortion rights precedent. New York notes the general disruption to reproductive care since Dobbs and claims that medication abortion via telemedicine “spiked dramatically in the first year after Dobbs,” joining 22 other states and the District of Columbia in supporting the FDA. However, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops used the majority opinion of Dobbs to support their positions against the FDA, stating that “Abortion is a unique act.” The anti-abortion groups’ attorneys addressed the justices, quoting earlier rulings, “This Court acknowledges that ‘(a)bortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.”

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