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Cohen Discusses Abortion Pill in ‘Vital Signs’ Webinar

Vital Signs Conversations About Health Care and Law

May 08, 2023

The Health Law Program at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law presented “Making Sense of the Medication Abortion Litigation with Professor David S. Cohen,” the first webinar in its new Vital Signs series, on May 1. Cohen, a professor of law, gave a briefing on the status of and prospects for the litigation concerning the abortion drug mifepristone and answered questions posed by the audience and moderator Elizabeth R. Kukura, assistant professor of law.

On April 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of Texas judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s opinion ordering mifepristone off the market while the case proceeds in lower courts. Cohen explained the basis of the case to remove the drug, likely next steps and the significance of related pending litigation.

In opening the event, Kukura noted, “Abortion opponents view restricting the availability of medication abortion as central to their overall goals of reducing and eliminating abortion, while abortion rights advocates see medication abortion as central to their goals of preserving and expanding access to abortion, particularly in the face of new, highly restrictive bans. This issue isn’t going away.”

Video Transcript

Highlights—from David S. Cohen

‘Safer than Tylenol’

“[Medication abortion] is the most common form of abortion. It is incredibly safe. These drugs are safer than Tylenol and penicillin and Viagra. It's one of the safest FDA drugs out there.”

On the attack

“The anti-abortion movement has thought that if they can attack medication abortion, then they can go a long way towards making abortion more difficult for people to access, and maybe eliminating it for some people.”

Anticipated ruling

“The Supreme Court could say the FDA did everything right, or this case is improper, and then nothing will change. But if the Supreme Court takes any step to change the requirements around mifepristone or agrees with the original decision from Judge Kacsmaryk, and if mifepristone was improperly approved, that would shake up the world of abortion.”

Widespread impact

“This mifepristone ruling could have an impact everywhere and change abortion provision everywhere, and that was the intent of the case.”

About David S. Cohen

Professor David S. CohenCohen’s scholarship explores the intersection of constitutional law and gender, emphasizing how the law impacts abortion provision, including violence against abortion providers, as well as sex segregation and masculinity.

Cohen co-authored, with Greer Donley of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Rachel Rebouche of the Temple University Beasley School of Law, two related articles: “The New Abortion Battleground,” published in Columbia Law Review, and “Abortion Pills,” forthcoming in Stanford Law Review.

Widely published and cited in the media, Cohen is known for his ability to break down the complexities of constitutional litigation and explain the interplay of law and politics in the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights in the United States.