Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Days before taking recess, the Supreme Court granted cert in a case that, with all the noise over the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and same sex marriage, skipped right past most of us. The case, Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, deals with a sloppily-drafted Oklahoma law that bans off-label use of two drugs to perform medical abortions.
Proponents of the law argue that sticking to the on-label treatment procedure, or using surgical procedures, is safer for the patient, while opponents argue that this is an unconstitutional restriction on abortion. The Oklahoma Supreme Court, in an opinion shorter than this blog post, found the law unconstitutional per Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
And the Supreme Court, when granting certiorari, certified two questions to the Oklahoma Supreme Court because the language of the statute was so grossly unclear.
The vocabulary is perhaps the most confusing part of this case. Here is a quick primer on terms that will resurface repeatedly:
The issue, which necessitated the certified questions, is the language of the statute, which appears to ban any off-label use of the two drugs used in medical abortions, period. Then again, it allows on-label use of the drugs, per the FDA approved protocol, as a pair.
The Supreme Court's first certified question was whether the law bans misoprostol use, even as part of the FDA treatment, due to the vague language. Second, does it ban the off-label, yet very common, use of methotrexate for ectopic pregnancies?
Next week, we'll take a look at the amicus briefs submitted, so far, to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, as well as the exact language of the statute at issue.