Trump-Appointed Judge Blocks Sales Of Safe, Effective Abortion Drug
Large scale testing has shown the the drug mifepristone is actually safer than many medications that are given out millions of times a year—including such common antibiotics as penicillin and “male enhancement” drugs like Viagra. In addition to supporting a medically safe abortion, the drug has been used used for over two decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and Cushing syndrome. An analysis of all available data by CNN put the odds of dying from mifepristone at 0.0005 percent.
That extreme level of safety is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved prescription use of mifepristone in 2000, and why in January the FDA changed regulations around it to make it readily available in pharmacies. It’s also used safely by millions in other countries.
But on Friday, Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed to a seat on the Northern District of Texas bench straight from the ultra-conservative First Liberty Institute, made an extraordinary and unprecedented ruling, ignoring the safety data presented by the FDA and others, and “suspending” that FDA approval. The ruling could potentially block the sale of mifepristone not just in states that have outlawed abortion following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, but in every state, including those where abortion remains legal.
Currently, mifepristone is used in over half the abortions performed in the United States.
As The Washington Post reports, Kacsmaryk has a long history of anti-abortion views. In fact, this isn’t the first abortion-related case to drop onto Kacsmaryk’s docket. That’s because anti-abortion groups know that he’s a guaranteed win, that they have engaged in “forum shopping,” contriving ways to file their case so that it will be heard in Kacsmaryk’s court.
In this case, the group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has taken part in several other lawsuits aimed at ending abortion rights, including the Mississippi case that led to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, filed suit in Amarillo claiming unspecified damage by four doctors who has prescribed the drug to patients. That suit claimed that “FDA lacked the authority to approve the drug, did not adequately study the medication and that the drug is unsafe.”
Kacsmaryk chose to accept the unsupported claims by Alliance Defending Liberty rather than the raft of studies showing mifepristone’s safety. In his 67-page ruling, he went out of the way to berate the FDA and to claim that the agency had “acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns—in violation of its statutory duty” because of political pressure.
The Biden administration will certainly appeal the ruling, but one of the reasons abortion groups love to go to Kacsmaryk is that any appeal from him ends up in the Fifth Circuit. That court was described inEsquire as “the blown fuse of American jurisprudence.” Or, as The Washington Post explains.
The arrival of a half-dozen judges picked by President Donald Trump—many of them young, ambitious and outspoken—has put the court at the forefront of resistance to the Biden administration’s assertions of legal authority and to the regulatory power of federal agencies. Their rulings have at times broken with precedent and exposed rifts among the judges, illustrating Trump’s lasting legacy on the powerful set of federal courts that operate one step below the Supreme Court. Even some veteran conservatives on the court have criticized the newcomers for going too far.
The next step from there is the Supreme Court … the same court that tossed five decades of rights out the window in 2022.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
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