WASHINGTON (OSV News) — A federal judge in Texas ruled April 7 to suspend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a medication abortion pill, additionally granting a seven day pause for his ruling before it would go into effect to allow the federal government to appeal and seek emergency relief.
The Good Friday ruling comes amid a lawsuit by a coalition of pro-life opponents of the drug mifepristone, the first of two drugs used in a medication or chemical abortion. The groups are seeking for the FDA’s approval of the drug to be revoked, arguing the government violated its own safety standard in approving the drug more than two decades ago.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling marks the most significant abortion-related court ruling since the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last year that overturned prior rulings by the high court making abortion access a constitutional right.
“The Court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly,” Kacsmaryk wrote in his ruling. “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.”
If the ruling goes into effect after the seven day pause, it would issue a nationwide injunction on the sale of mifepristone, as requested by the plaintiffs, which would affect even U.S. states where abortion is legal and the drug is permitted under state law. However, the government will appeal the ruling, and it may not ultimately be implemented.
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