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U.S. Federal judge overturns FDA approval of abortion drug - but another court issue competing ruling

Image credit: Anthony Tran & Victoria Volkova via Unsplash

A US District Court Judge, Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, ruled on Good Friday to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, the abortion drug that has been approved for use in the United States since 2000. 

Pro-life group, Live Action, said the ruling means that mifepristone, the first drug of the abortion pill regimen, no longer has FDA approval and could result in a new FDA review of mifepristone.

The Texas judge gave the FDA a week to file an appeal before the order takes place – granting seven days to “seek emergency relief from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.”

Live Action said that “Misoprostol is the second drug in the current abortion pill regimen. While the first drug, mifepristone, acts to block the naturally occurring hormone progesterone (depriving the child of nutrients needed to grow), misoprostol causes contractions that expel the baby from the uterus.”.

The legal team for the medical organisations who took the lawsuit said that the ruling came after safety concerns were raised regarding abortion drug.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration chose politics over science when it pushed for the legalization of the chemical abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol in 2000,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the legal team representing the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and others in the lawsuit brought against the FDA in November.

“The only way the FDA was able to approve the drugs was by characterizing pregnancy as an ‘illness’ and arguing that these drugs provide a ‘meaningful therapeutic benefit.’ As the medical groups and doctors filing suit explain, by approving chemical abortion drugs, the FDA failed to abide by its legal obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of girls and women,” ADF added.

“The FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo this dangerous drug regimen.”

On the same day, another judge in Washington state issued a competing ruling, ordering that access to the drug be preserved in 17 states.

United States District Judge Thomas Rice issued an injunction on Friday blocking the FDA from altering the availability of the abortion pill in some states.

This piece was first published on Gript

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