Contradicting abortion pill rulings leave medical professionals confused

April 10, 2023

On April 7th, 2023, a U.S. district judge from Texas ruled against the drug mifepristone, a two-drug regimen for medical abortions, saying the FDA failed to inform people of some of the risks. On the same day, a federal judge from Washington State ruled for mifepristone, stating that federal regulators shouldn’t alter the accessibility of the drug. 

Mifepristone has been approved by the FDA since 2000 and has been used for more than half of the country’s abortions today. While some believe this is the safest way to access abortion, others believe there are safety concerns that the FDA has not addressed, like the effects of mifepristone on girls under 18. With alternating views on abortion, it leaves doctors scrambling to understand the legal implications of the contradictory rulings. 

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, stated, “The Court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly, but here, FDA acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns – in violation of its statutory duty – based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions.”

Although the ruling was made Friday, nothing will go into effect for seven days. This gives the Justice Department time to submit an Emergency Appeal. 

Less than an hour after the Texas ruling, Judge Thomas O. Rice from Washington State made an opposing ruling, preventing the FDA from limiting access in the states that sued because of the pill. 

President Joe Biden made a statement late last Friday saying, “The Court, in this case, has substituted its judgment for FDA, the expert agency that approves drugs. 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.”

Katie Glenn Daniel, state policy director and member of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, stated, “We anticipate that eventually, whether it’s the merits of this case or these injunctions- now dueling injunctions- that the Supreme Court will have to weigh in in some way.”

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