A Texas Judge's Ruling Could Further Jeopardize Abortion Access Nationwide — Here's What You Need to Know

In the latest blow to reproductive rights, a federal judge in Texas has halted the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs used in medication abortions in the United States. Here’s what this unprecedented ruling could mean for the future of abortion pill access nationwide.

Late last week, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk — an ultra-conservative Trump-era appointee — ruled in favor of anti-abortion advocates in Texas who baselessly contested the FDA’s longstanding approval of mifepristone. For more than 20 years, this pill has been used to safely and effectively terminate pregnancies, often with the drug misoprostol for a two-step protocol.

“This is the first time in history that a judge has stayed an approval of a human drug over the objection of the FDA,” law professor Greer Donley told Abortion, Every Day. “There is a reason for this: when it comes to determinations of drug safety and efficacy, most Americans would rather have expert scientists and doctors make those decisions, not politically motivated judges.”

As CBS News reported, Kacsmaryk’s decision fell short of completely withdrawing the FDA’s approval. Still, the ruling could create barriers for people who need mifepristone throughout the country, including in pro-choice states.

Kacsmaryk’s ruling will take effect this Friday, April 14. The Biden administration has already filed an appeal.

“The lawsuit, and this ruling, is another unprecedented step in taking away basic freedoms from women and putting their health at risk,” said President Joe Biden in a statement.

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