June 13, 2024

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A judge has struck down a ban on prescribing abortion pills in the US

Its decision affects the entire country, including states that protect the right to abortion, and affects the roughly 500,000 women who seek it each year.

Via Le Figaro with AFP

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Boxes of mifepristone at the Alamo Clinic in New Mexico. Evelyn Hagstein / Reuters

A US federal judge on Friday suspended the marketing authorization of mifepristone (RU 486), one of two abortion pills, in the US, effectively blocking their prescription. Its decision affects the entire country, including states that protect the right to abortion, and affects about 500,000 women who seek the abortion pill each year. However, the magistrate made it clear that he had given federal officials a week to appeal the decision, marking another victory for conservatives in restricting access to abortion in the United States.

Over 67 pages, Magistrate Matthew Kasmaric, known for his ultra-conservative views, upholds most of the arguments in the complaint filed against the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) in November by a coalition of doctors and anti-abortion organizations. Like them, he is resuming studies of the dangers of the abortion pill, although they have been largely ignored by the scientific community. He also accused the FDA of failing to follow its procedures to achieve a political objective.

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The Judiciary appeals

“Texan judge’s decision blocks FDA approval of mifepristone (US Agency for Medicines, Editor’s Note) It’s outrageous and exposes our justice system as a tool to further restrict abortion across the country.”In a press release, outraged Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, America’s first family planning organization. “Today’s unprecedented decision threatens the right of women in the country to make decisions about their health and their ability to access prescription drugs.”Vice President Kamala Harris condemned in a press release.

The US Justice Department immediately announced it would appeal the decision, which will then be urgently reviewed by an appeals court based in New Orleans, known for its conservatism. Govt “Strongly disagree with the conclusion”Justice Minister Merrick Garland said in a statement. “He will appeal (…) and ask for time until then.”Condemning this decision, he adds:FDA overrides expert judgment (US Agency for Medicines, Editor’s Note)Given 20 years ago, mifepristone was safe and effective.

So this case should end up in the US Supreme Court soon. Deeply overhauled by Donald Trump, it handed abortion opponents a historic victory in June by removing the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, giving each state the freedom to legislate on the matter. Since then, about fifteen states have banned abortion on their soil.

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