That Abortion Pill Ruling

Hi Meteor readers,

This is my confession: the other night, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to witness NYC workers use two giant cranes to erect a $32 million, Italian-steel pedestrian bridge outside my apartment. Infrastructure, it’s amazing! It’s expensive! I really wish someone would fund my local library!

Anyway! Today we’ve got Rebecca Carroll in conversation with author Glynnis MacNicol on her new book. Plus: The Supreme Court rules unanimously that mifepristone access is safe—at least until the next villain comes along with a better argument.

Keep on movin’ dont stop no,

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd


Mifepristone prevails! For now!: The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed a suit challenging access to mifepristone for medication abortion. Sixty-three percent of abortions are administered by medication, a number that increased after SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade. The ruling means that, for now, mifepristone is still accessible by mail everywhere (including in states where abortion is banned; it just carries legal risk there).

The suit, brought by the right-wing Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and represented by attorney Erin Morrow Hawley—Sen. Josh “Jan. 6″ Hawley’s spouse—tried to argue that mifepristone shouldn’t be accessible by mail, and that the FDA shouldn’t have ruled the drug safe for abortion because it put patients at risk, an assertion that is patently untrue. During oral arguments, SCOTUS expressed skepticism as to whether the plaintiffs had legal standing, and as expected, today’s opinions, written by Justices Kavanaugh and Thomas, speak to this. Which is to say, it’s a rare win, but one with an asterisk: Kavanaugh basically provided a roadmap for future suits, writing that because the plaintiffs “do not prescribe or use mifepristone, plaintiffs are unregulated parties who seek to challenge FDA’s regulation of others.” That’s basically an anti-abortion bat signal—he’s essentially asking for a suit from plaintiffs who do prescribe or use mifepristone.

But! There are a few cases in mifepristone’s favor currently weaving through the legal system: in Bryant v. Stein, a University of North Carolina doctor is suing that state for its restrictions on mifepristone, and GenBioPro Inc., v. Sorsaia is a similar suit in West Virginia. And in Washington et al v. FDA, the Attorneys General of 17 states plus the District of Columbia argue that the FDA has too many restrictions on mifepristone, challenging the rules that say the drug can only be provided by certified doctors and pharmacies. Controversial opinion: I agree and make it free.


  • The Southern Baptist Convention is currently on its own little rampage to restrict everyone else’s bodies. While its vote Wednesday to ban women pastors from its churches failed, the convention voted to oppose IVF under the logic that frozen embryos are people—and also issued a guidance for Baptists to pressure the government to ban it, too. Even more disturbing was SBC seminary president Albert Mohler Jr.’s vile justification that IVF is the “alienation of reproduction in the conjugal setting,” and that LGBTQ people “exploit” IVF—which is to say, Al Mohler, a freak weirdo who also believes the earth is only 6000 years old and that doing yoga is anti-Christian, wants to keep queer people from being able to have children. In related news, young women are leaving the church in record numbers. Wonder if these things are connected, or?
  • The U.S. Senate, for its part, is voting today on The Right to IVF Act, a Democrat-sponsored bill which would guarantee access to fertility treatments. It won’t pass, but—as with last week’s birth control debate— now we’ll know where our public servants stand.
  • Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been caught sexually exploiting and abusing children whom they met on the job, according to a devastating, yearlong investigation by the Washington Post. Yet many of the perpetrators identified by the Post have gone scot free, with almost 40 percent avoiding prison time—and over half of those who were sentenced to prison receiving five years or less. A reminder here that police were never defunded—in fact, across America, police were funded even more.
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley said what we’re all thinking about Justice Alito.
  • Bridgerton’s Penelope Featherington (played by Nicola Coughlan, our Irish queen) went full nude and gently lost her virginity, in what fans say is the best sex scene of the series. Shonda Rhimes does it again!
  • In celebration of Father’s Day this weekend, we revisit a conversation from Free Future 2023 with beauty influencer Cyrus Veyssi who, together with their dad, is showing queer youth the possibility of a loving and accepting future.




Author Glynnis MacNicol rejects the idea that feeling good is a frivolous pursuit

I recently decided that I’ve aged out of doing anything that doesn’t bring me some kind of pleasure, so Glynnis MacNicol’s new memoir, I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself: A Woman’s Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris, might as well have been written for me, and me alone. MacNicol is single, and has written (and defended herself) extensively about this fact throughout her career (it was the subject of her first memoir, No One Tells You This). But even if you’re not single, there is something so immediately relatable, and deeply satisfying, about a woman choosing to feel good on her own terms. MacNicol, who is now 49, does that and then some with I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, which reads like an exquisitely unsupervised joyride through a sex-filled summer, with gooey cheese and good girlfriends set against the backdrop of a Parisian sky.

Rebecca Carroll: If you Google the word pleasure, which I did, the framework is invariably related to eroticism, sex, indulgence, and guilt. Beyond the patriarchy, why do you think that continues to be the narrow framework for pleasure?

Glynnis MacNicol: What I was trying to capture in this book is that the sources of pleasure for me at this age are so varied. My friendships bring me enormous pleasure. Sometimes, I think my bike is the love of my life—the movement and agency, and the idea I can get myself somewhere is pleasure. The idea of supporting myself as a writer brings me enormous pleasure. I don’t know how you can separate [any of] it from the patriarchy, though. Sarah Schulman wrote a piece in The New Republic after Roe was overturned, where she said that men have been determining the representation of women in story and structure for so long that women have internalized it to the point where we don’t understand our story outside of it—we don’t have any language around [our own representation] as being worthy of access. Even understanding that the sex in this book, and there is plenty of sex in this book, is what will likely end up selling it [to a broader audience], is connected to the patriarchy. Because when men think about women’s pleasure, they think, “Oh, she’s naked and having sex.”

I have to ask, because we are in this era of Ozempic—there’s this strange, oxymoronic thing about it, which is that here is a medication that will shut down your desire to eat, so that you can arrive at a place where your body is worthy of pleasure. What are your thoughts?

Wild, right? But whose pleasure is it now worthy of? Not your own. This book was written before the Ozempic era, and so there was none of that framework in terms of this medication that is [maybe] about restricting pleasure. I do feel like the way [Ozempic] is being used is reflective of how well-trained we are to think of our bodies as a source of pleasure for other people, and not for ourselves. But I recognize that there are very real health concerns at play. And I have not moved around the world in a fat body—I don’t experience the bias that comes with that. And I recognize the power of the pleasure you could experience by having a world that, even if you disagree with its value system, finds you valuable if you’ve only ever been punished by it.

What do you feel like you learned about pleasure through writing this book that you didn’t know before?

That it’s serious. That it’s not a frivolous pursuit. If we want to talk about rethinking power structures, pleasure is as valuable a place to start as anywhere. The degree to which capitalism is based on [women] feeling like there’s something wrong with [us] that needs fixing is enormous. And in this moment, where women are losing access to abortion care, the move to rescind no-fault divorce laws portends to a future where women have less ability to control their own finances and ability to move freely, what begins to consume us is shrinking our bodies. And so a woman enjoying her own body feels very dangerous. There’s a fearlessness and a sense of power that comes in the ability to take pleasure in yourself.


Rebecca Carroll is a writer, cultural critic, and podcast creator/host. Her writing has been published widely, and she is the author of several books, including her recent memoir, Surviving the White Gaze. Rebecca is Editor at Large for The Meteor.



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