US Judge Suspends Approval of Access to Abortion Pills

Sat Apr 08 2023
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TEXAS: A judge in Texas has suspended a two-decade-old law allowing the use of abortion pills known as mifepristone.

At the same time, a judge in Washington state issued a rival ruling, ordering that access to the pills be preserved in 17 states.

The pill had been allowed for over 20 years, and is used in most abortions. The competing court orders make it likely that the issue will escalate to the US Supreme Court.

In a 67-page ruling, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo Texas stopped the United States Food and Drug Administration-approved mifepristone. The court order will not be implemented for seven days, allowing the government time to appeal.


On Friday night, the US Department of Justice confirmed that it would challenge the Texas ruling.

Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling could limit access to the pill for millions of women in the US. Legal analysts said the court ruling threatened to upend the entire foundation of America’s drug regulatory system.

It comes after the US Supreme Court removed constitutional protections for abortion last year, triggering a wave of state-by-state bans.

A lawsuit filed by anti-abortion groups argued that the drug’s safety was never adequately studied.

In his ruling, Judge Kacsmaryk said the FDA approval violated federal rules allowing for accelerated drug approval. The FDA almost spent four years reviewing mifepristone before the drug was approved in 2000.

The judge also said the FDA failed to consider mifepristone’s “psychological effects” and safety record.

The FDA’s “failure [to account for this] should not be overlooked or understated”, the ruling said. The FDA, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists and other mainstream medical organizations said mifepristone was safe for use.

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