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Amanda Spriggs-Reid Shares Reflections on Advocating at the Supreme Court

/ Blog Post

Headshot of Amanda Spriggs Reid
Photo of Amanda Spriggs-Reid

Equal Justice Works recently spoke to 2023 Fellow Amanda Spriggs-Reid about her work advocating for abortion access for disabled people through impact litigation, technical guidance on disability rights for abortion care professionals, and education outreach on reproductive rights. Amanda is hosted by Women Enabled International. Read more about her project below: 

Can you tell us about the U.S. Supreme Court case(s) you and your host organization have been involved in either directly or indirectly during your Fellowship? What are the main things people without a law degree should know about these cases? 

I have co-written amicus briefs advocating for improved access to abortion care for people with disabilities for both abortion-related cases this term (U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine and Moyle v. United States). FDA v. Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine will determine if the abortion medication, mifepristone, will continue to be available in all 50 states under the improved, science-backed regulations that were made in 2021. Moyle v. United States will determine if doctors can still provide health-stabilizing abortion care during medical emergencies in states with restrictive abortion bans. These cases have the potential to restrict or ban abortion access across the country, which could put people’s lives at risk and have devastating effects on people who already face higher barriers to carelike people with disabilities. 

Do you have any updates for where this case currently stands? 

The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in both cases. 

On June 13, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine argument against the FDA’s approval and updated regulation of mifepristone. This decision does not expand abortion access in the U.S., but it keeps the regulation of medication abortion, which is more than half of all abortions, available under the 2021 regulations. People can still use telehealth services to access medication abortion and can get their prescriptions from local pharmacies or delivered to their homes. However, the Court did not decide on the merits of this case, but on standing. This means that Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine was not directly harmed by mifepristone’s approval and regulations so they should not have brought this case but leaves the possibility for future challenges to medication abortion by other parties.  

We are still awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court on Moyle v United but can expect to receive that decision soon. 

Why is this issue of interest or importance to you? 

All people, including people with disabilities, need the freedom of bodily autonomy to make their own decisions about reproductive health and pregnancy. 

What did it mean to you to be able to help work on a case that made it to the Supreme Court? 

I never imagined that I would be writing to the Supreme Court so early in my career, and it is a privilege to be fighting for these fundamental rights. Trailblazing Supreme Court civil rights cases are what inspired me to go to law school in the first place. As part of the advocacy around FDA v Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood organized a rally at the Supreme Court steps during the case’s oral arguments. I had the opportunity to speak at the rally with Elio McCabe from one of our amici co-signers, Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network, to highlight the inclusion of the disability community in the fight to abortion access. It felt incredibly powerful to speak at a rally on the Supreme Court steps and know my words in our amicus briefs were part of these cases.

What do you hope to take away from this experience? How has advocating at the Supreme Court inspired the next stages of your project? 

This experience has taught me that no advocacy goal is too ambitious for my project or for me. I will continue to advocate for an inclusive vision of reproductive justice and disability justice with my project and hopefully more amicus briefs are in my future! 

What words of advice would you give other lawyers interested in or looking to get involved in Supreme Court jurisprudence? 

Connect with coalitions working on your issue areas because collaboration creates more effective advocacy. 

Click here to learn more about Amanda’s project. Click here to learn more about Equal Justice Works Fellows working to advance and protect reproductive rights. 

This experience has taught me that no advocacy goal is too ambitious for my project or for me.

Amanda Spriggs-Reid /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow