Federal judge stops FDA approval of abortion pill

April 8, 2023
Robert Ayers

Fox News reports that a federal judge has just blocked an abortion pill from being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The drug is mifepristone, which is one of the top drugs that is used to perform chemical abortions.

Newsmax provides the following details about the underlying case:

Four anti-abortion groups headed by the recently formed Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and four anti-abortion doctors sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November. They contended the agency used an improper process when it approved mifepristone in 2000 and did not adequately consider the drug's safety when used by girls under age 18 to terminate a pregnancy.

The decision was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk on Friday. Kacsmaryk is an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

The decision

Kacsmaryk's decision is not a final decision on the merits, but rather a granting of preliminary relief. What the decision actually does is temporarily stop the FDA from approving mifepristone while a lawsuit challenging the drug's safety plays out in court.

In other words, this ruling would essentially stop the sale of mifepristone while the case is heard on its merits.

This preliminary relief, however, will not go into effect for seven days.

The Hill reports that Kacsmaryk "has issued the government a weeklong window to appeal and seek emergency relief before his ruling goes into effect."

It now appears that the federal government is going to take advantage of this "weeklong window."

An appeal is forthcoming

The administration of President Joe Biden has indicated that it will be appealing Kacsmaryk's decision. Following the decision, U.S. Attorney General Marrick Garland put out a statement.

"The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the decision of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA and will be appealing the court’s decision and seeking a stay pending appeal," Garland said.

He added, "Today’s decision overturns the FDA’s expert judgment, rendered over two decades ago, that mifepristone is safe and effective. The Department will continue to defend the FDA’s decision."

In addition to the case taking place in Texas, there is another, related case that is taking place in Washington State. The judge in the Washington case - the Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice - issued another ruling on Friday which bars the FDA from "altering" the availability of mifepristone in the 17 Democratic states that brought the lawsuit.

Kacsmary's and Rice's decisions would appear to be at odds.

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