As early as today, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas could decide to ban mifepristone in abortion pills nationwide. The hearing is taking place in Amarillo, a four-hour drive from any major city, and only became public after journalists raised concerns about a lack of transparency after Judge Matthew Kaczmarik tried to delay the notice and hide the date. The lawsuit seeks to revoke a two-decade-long Food and Drug Administration approval of an abortion pill and was filed after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion last year, overturning Roe’s case. against Wade.
From an interview with Amy Littlefield, The Nation’s correspondent on access to abortion.
If a judge manages to revoke the FDA’s approval for mifepristone, which has been on the market for 23 years in the United States, it would be disastrous, especially in states where abortion is legal. I mean, we’re talking about this hearing that’s going on in a state that it won’t even affect because abortion is already illegal in Texas. So it will be reflected in the states where I sit, in Massachusetts, New York, California, states where abortion is legal.
Mifepristone abortion pill is the first of two drugs used in the standard of care for medical abortion. So health care providers across the country are gearing up for this ruling to start providing misoprostol-only abortions, which is medical abortion using only the second drug in the protocol. This still works but is less efficient. According to a recent study, it is about 88% effective compared to 99% with mifepristone. And that causes more suffering, more cramping, more bleeding, and more intense process for the person undergoing a medical abortion. So we’re talking about the imposition of misery on medical abortion patients across the country.
… medical abortion using mifepristone is the most popular abortion method, used in more than half of all abortions nationwide. So this can have a huge impact. Of course, it depends on what exactly the Food and Drug Administration does in response to this ruling. And there is a growing chorus of voices saying that the FDA should simply ignore this ruling and that vendors should continue to offer this drug wherever they can. So I think it’s not clear yet what the consequences will be until we make a decision.
But I think this should really put an end to any pretense that this was ever about states’ rights or about bringing abortion back to elected representatives in the states, which is what the Supreme Court claimed it was doing with the Dobbs Supreme Court ruling, right? In fact, what we are seeing is an attempt to ban abortion across the country, using what pro-life legal strategists hope is a judicial channel that will allow them to go all the way to the Supreme Court and hold a sympathetic anti-abortion hearing. .