(GoRealNewsNow.com) – On Friday, a federal judge in Texas suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone nationwide, providing the Biden administration with a one-week window to appeal. However, shortly after the Texas decision was publicized, a federal judge in Washington state issued a preliminary injunction with a contrasting viewpoint.
These seemingly conflicting federal court rulings in Texas and Washington state could ultimately prompt the Supreme Court to address the legality of mifepristone in the U.S.
The FDA approved the drug over two decades ago, in 2000.
When used with misoprostol, mifepristone is the most prevalent method of terminating pregnancies in the U.S., accounting for approximately half of all abortions.
Several weeks ago, U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. Northern District of Texas conducted a crucial hearing in Amarillo.
The decision, which could potentially disrupt access to a key abortion drug, was only released late on Friday when many Americans were observing religious holidays.
Kacsmaryk supported the plaintiffs’ arguments regarding their right to sue, which demanded the removal of the FDA’s approval of the drug. He contended that mifepristone poses significant safety risks, dismissing the FDA’s long-standing determination of the drug’s safety and efficacy.
Kacsmaryk wrote, “The Court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly. But here, FDA acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns — violating its statutory duty — based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions.”
In a dramatic turn of events, Judge Thomas Owen Rice of the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Washington essentially countered the Texas decision by prohibiting the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of mifepristone” in the 17 states and D.C. that sued to maintain the pill’s availability.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed that Kacsmaryk’s ruling in Texas “overturns the FDA’s expert judgment, rendered over two decades ago, that mifepristone is safe and effective.” Garland stated that the Justice Department would appeal the Texas ruling and defend the FDA’s approval.
In response to the Texas ruling, President Joe Biden declared in a statement, “My Administration will fight this ruling.” He continued, “If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks.”
The case will proceed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. If the Biden administration cannot persuade the court to overturn Kacsmaryk’s ruling, access to mifepristone across the U.S. may be in jeopardy. However, the Washington state ruling could safeguard drug access in certain states.
Kacsmaryk’s decision will not impact access to misoprostol, commonly employed as a standalone abortion drug worldwide. Some abortion providers have indicated they plan to utilize misoprostol as an alternative to the two-drug regimen if mifepristone is withdrawn from the market.
The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a coalition of physicians opposed to abortion, sued the FDA in November over its approval of mifepristone. The group argued that the FDA abused its authority by approving the drug through an accelerated process for new drugs that assist patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses more effectively than existing market options.
Kacsmaryk supported the group’s claims on Friday, asserting that pregnancy is not an illness and mifepristone does not offer a meaningful therapeutic advantage over surgical abortion.
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