Dueling Court Decisions Confuse the Playing Field for Medication Abortion
Apr 13, 2023
Origin: ASRM Bulletin
The fate of abortion access for millions of Americans is once again dangling before the courts. On Friday, April 7, a Texas federal Judge issued a decision staying (pausing) the FDA’s approval of the medication mifepristone used in the procedure. The decision from Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk out of the Northern District of Texas to stay nationwide approval of this medication after more than two decades of approved access takes effect after a seven-day delay - effectively beginning April 14.
Just twenty minutes later that same day, federal Judge Thomas Rice of the Eastern District of Washington ruled, in a conflicting opinion, that the FDA must maintain the “status quo” and keep the drug available and on the market in those states involved in the litigation before him. This decision came after a coalition of Democratic attorneys general filed to lift related restrictions.
What comes next is to be determined. ASRM is pleased to have joined the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Medical Association (AMA), and others on an amicus brief in the Texas case urging continued access to mifepristone. On Monday, the Department of Justice filed an appeal of Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling. The stage seems set for a face-off before the Supreme Court as lawmakers and advocates warn that if it stands, the Texas decision would eliminate access to the most common and safe method of abortion and would upend a system of drug regulation that has worked well for over a century.
ASRM’s Office of Public Affairs remains actively engaged on this issue and will keep you informed of the latest developments.