The debate over abortion reignited in the US following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that generally protects women’s rights to abortion.
Upending Five Decades-Old Right To Abortion
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Jun. 24 overturned the ruling many critics say will have far-reaching consequences in many states. The court upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion, drawing the disapproval of Democrats, including US President Joe Biden.
Biden, in a statement shortly after the court’s decision, said the health and life of women “are now at risk,” adding that the US administration will continue to protect women’s access to medications that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration like contraception.
Birth Control Stock Beneficiaries
Fears that abortion could be curtailed in many states prompted retail investors to pile into the stocks of some producers of contraceptives like Evofem Biosciences (NASDAQ:), Femasys Inc (NASDAQ:) and Agile Therapeutics (NASDAQ:).
On Jun. 24, Evofem soared 189%, Agile jumped 90%, while Femasys surged 31%. The sentiment came as consumers rushed to stock up on emergency contraceptives like the well-known morning-after pill Plan B, manufactured by privately held Foundation Consumer Healthcare.
In 2021, the US contraceptive market was valued at roughly $8.3 billion. According to a report by Grand View Research, it was estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate of around 4.7% by 2030. The sector’s annual revenue is predicted to grow to $12 billion in 2030.
The market’s growth is being attributed to rising awareness among adolescents about sexual health and family planning. However, some have raised concerns that access to contraceptives could be at stake following Roe v Wade’s overturning.
In a survey by Morning Consult in April, the firm found that 68% of adults are in favor of the offering of free birth control by states, including 54% of Republicans. Most women who use contraceptives access birth control from doctors’ offices, drug stores or pharmacies, and other sources. The survey also found that some women under 45 were more likely to start using birth control within the next year following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
As the debate continues, some industry watchers worry that contraception pills like Plan B could see stricter restrictions as such drugs prevent a fertilized embryo from attaching to the uterus. According to The New York Times, this distinction is relevant as many states argue that a fertilized embryo is a person.
Some hospitals in Missouri have already stopped offering Plan B, citing the abortion ban. On Friday, before the US markets closed for the Fourth of July holiday, Evofem tumbled 19%, Femasys tanked almost 17%, while Agile nosedived 45%.