The decision of a Texas judge to halt FDA approval of a pill utilized in nearly half of abortions was reversed by a federal appeals court, however, some limitations on the pill's usage were retained.
Late on Wednesday night, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a verdict that partially overturned the suspension of FDA approval of mifepristone, which had been ordered by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.
Under the recent ruling, it is not permissible to send mifepristone via mail and it can only be administered within the first seven weeks of pregnancy. In contrast, U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled last week that the FDA must permit the use of the drug in 17 Democratic-led states that filed a lawsuit regarding chemical abortions.
The judges who supported the limitations on the chemical abortion pill were Kurt Engelhardt and Andrew Oldham, both nominated by ex-President Donald Trump, whereas Catharina Haynes, appointed by former President George W. Bush, was against the regulation of the pill.
The judges added restrictions to the appeal court's decision as they considered them to be non-essential, given that the nation functioned without them for 16 years and millions of women received mifepristone during that time, prior to the FDA's alterations in 2016 regarding the method of obtaining the drug.
Kacsmaryk stated that the approval was based on inadequate research, as he explained his decision to halt the approval.
“Simply put, FDA built on its already-suspect 2000 Approval by removing even more restrictions related to chemical abortion drugs that were present during the final phase of the investigation. And it did so by relying on studies that included the very conditions FDA refused to adopt,” he said.
— LifeNews.com (@LifeNewsHQ) April 12, 2023
The Biden administration criticized Kacsmaryk's ruling, which was lauded by pro-life organizations, and it may ultimately be appealed to the Supreme Court. This outcome is more probable due to the contradicting verdict issued by Rice.
“We are going to continue to fight in the courts, we believe the law is on our side, and we will prevail,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said while speaking on the issue earlier this week.
The suspension of mifepristone was prompted by a lawsuit filed by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and other pro-life organizations, who were legally represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Pregnancy is not an illness, and chemical abortion drugs don’t provide a therapeutic benefit—they can pose serious and life-threatening complications to the mother, in addition to ending a baby’s life. The FDA never had the authority to approve these hazardous drugs and remove important safeguards,” ADF Senior Counsel Erik Baptist said.
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