Texas judge: Abortion medication mifepristone shouldn’t be FDA-approved

Not even one full year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a Texas judge has unilaterally decided that the FDA’s authorization of the abortion medication mifepristone is “improper.” As in, a conservative hack in a robe decided he has the power to overturn the federal protections on abortive drugs, which are (obviously) federally regulated, not state-regulated. Many states have abolished abortion clinics and curtailed access to physical clinics where people seeking abortions could see doctors, but states could do next to nothing about mifepristone, the completely safe and legal abortive drug. Until now.

Federal judges in two states issued contradictory decisions Friday evening that could drastically impact access to a drug used in nearly all medication abortions in the U.S. In Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that the Food and Drug Administration improperly approved the abortion pill mifepristone more than 20 years ago. A coalition of anti-abortion rights groups called the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine sued the FDA last year. The judge issued a nationwide injunction pausing the FDA’s approval, which is set to take effect in seven days.

Within hours of that decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice issued a ruling in a separate case in Washington state. That lawsuit filed by a coalition of Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia sought to block the FDA from pulling the drug from the market.

Rice’s decision blocks the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of Mifepristone.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson told NPR on Friday that he believes the judge’s ruling could make it possible for patients in those states to continue using mifepristone for abortion in the short term — even after the Texas decision takes effect.

“If you live in Washington State or one of the 17 states that joined Washington in our lawsuit…then the judge’s ruling in our case preserves the status quo on ensuring that access to mifepristone remains available,” Ferguson said. For the rest, he said, “The Texas judge’s ruling seriously has the potential to eliminate that access for mifepristone here in the coming days.”

President Biden said the ruling in Texas could have widespread consequences. “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 president said in a statement. “It is the next big step toward the national ban on abortion that Republican elected officials have vowed to make law in America,” Biden added. He said that the administration would fight the ruling, noting, “The Department of Justice has already filed an appeal and will seek an immediate stay of the decision.”

[From NPR]

It’s likely this case will end up going to the Supreme Court. I can’t wait to see the ideological hoops the conservative justices crawl through to end up upholding Kacsmaryk’s ruling, which doesn’t seem to be based on case law OR science. Like, mifepristone is completely safe, safer than many FDA-approved drugs currently sold in pharmacies around the country. A random judge in Texas has zero standing to unilaterally decide on ideological grounds that an FDA-approved drug shouldn’t be FDA-approved.

The only positive thing I have to say is that this bullsh-t is a giant loser for the Republican party – their hardline anti-choice stance is deeply unpopular and it’s costing them elections at nearly every level. I don’t know what will happen next.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, Instar and Cover Images.