Two years after overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court takes on abortion once again. But its decisions may bring more restrictions in the long run AFP

Two years after Roe v. Wade was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion rights were back this term on the justices' desk, this time, unanimously deciding to let an abortion pill remain widely available, and dismissing a case about Idaho's strict abortion ban. But while the issue may have had a good run, it may also set the stage for more future restrictions, according to a new analysis by The New York Times.

In the 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court signaled that it sought to get out of the abortion business, according to The Times.

"The authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives," Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority.

But this isn't the last time abortion came to SCOTUS.

The court dismissed an appeal on Thursday by Idaho officials, meaning a lower court ruling that allows doctors in the state to perform abortions in emergency situations remains in effect for now. The decision leaves the legal question unresolved and has no impact in any other state.

Similarly, two weeks ago, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a lawsuit challenging the FDA's rules for prescribing and dispensing the abortion medication mifepristone. Justices said the group of doctors who sued the FDA over its approval of the drug had no standing to sue because they didn't prescribe mifepristone.

But while the two rulings seemingly advance reproductive rights, the court's apparent avoidance on the topic lead advocates to believe these decisions are somewhere "Pyrrhic victories," ones they feared would set the stage for more restrictions, whether from the courts or from a second Trump administration.

"What is clear, both in this term and in what is likely to come, is that the abortion struggle is not being left to the states," Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, said. "The executive branch and the Supreme Court are still very much going to have their say."

Similarly, despite ducking making any hard issue decisions, experts believe the court will not be able to do this for long.

"In both of these cases," David S. Cohen, a law professor at Drexel University, said of this month's decisions, "the court avoided tackling the morass created by overturning Roe v. Wade. Without a national right to abortion care, contentious cases like these are going to come back to the court again and again. The court won't be able to sidestep its self-imposed mess forever."

And that may already be happening. In relation to the FDA case, three challengers— Idaho, Kansas and Missouri— are currently contesting the abortion medication, with said disputes able to reach the Supreme Court fairly quickly, according to The New York Times.

"The court didn't rule on the merits in either decision, and there are already cases in the pipeline to test the legality of mailed medication abortion and to uphold state abortion laws that make no exception for avoiding serious injury or threat to health," said Rachel Rebouche, dean of Temple University Beasley School of Law.

The coming election may have been a factor that played on the outcome of these cases, as the court's conservative majority may have wanted to avoid an "unpopular merits-based abortion decision in an election year," according to Greet Donley, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

At the same time, the election could further complicate these decisions, as a potential second Trump term could change their positions through executive order, such as withdrawing the guidance on emergency room care at issue in the Idaho cases, and try to ban the mailing of abortion pills, NBC News reports.

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