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2 Judges Issue Clashing Rulings on Abortion Pill, Disagreement Could Send Case to Supreme Court

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Two different federal courts issued conflicting rulings on Friday creating new uncertainty about the abortion drug mifepristone.

Mifepristone has become one of the most commonly utilized abortion methods in the United States since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. Pro-life groups have long contended that the process was rushed and didn’t guarantee women’s safety. While the drug currently remains available to consumers through physician approval, federal judges in Texas and Washington issued opposing orders on whether to continue to allow the distribution of the medication.

This action follows the Supreme Court's decision to revoke the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had created federal approval of abortion. That opened the door to a ripple effect of abortion restrictions throughout United States on a state-by-state basis. So far, 12 of 50 states have banned abortion-on-demand, while others have a partial ban, placing restrictions on abortion past a certain point in one's pregnancy.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas, a Trump appointee, ordered a hold on FDA approval of mifepristone; however, he allowed a seven day waiting period of the order, providing time for the government to appeal and challenge the request.

In the 67-page court document, legal representatives for the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine expressed, "FDA stonewalled judicial review – until now. Had FDA responded to Plaintiffs' petition within the 360 total days allotted, this case would have been in federal court decades earlier," alluding to an improper follow-up from the FDA and release of the abortion pill to the public.

In a press release from U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), he said, "the FDA has enabled the abortion industry to prey on women and girls during their most vulnerable moments of need [particularly] by unlawfully waiving the pediatric study requirement," referencing the endangering of pregnant adolescents.

Approximately 20 minutes after Kacsmaryk’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice of Washington, an Obama appointee, released an opposite ruling on the same issue. Rice's ruling affirmed that "the FDA’s original conclusion that mifepristone is safe and effective [and that] there is no reasoned scientific basis for subjecting it to additional burdens that are not applied to other, riskier medications."

But as CBN News has reported for years, pro-life advocates have documented numerous instances of dangerous complications from the abortion pill, including life-threatening bleeding and fetal tissue being lodged inside the uterus.

Inability to reach a unified decision on the issue will likely propel the discussion to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a ruling will be made on the legality of the drug and whether it will remain accessible to the public through physician's orders.

President Joe Biden took to Twitter on Friday to express his disapproval for the court ruling in Texas, declaring that his administration would be working to combat the decisions made and push the issue further.

In addition to use of mifepristone for prompting medical abortion, the drug is also utilized in instances of miscarriage and as a cortisol receptor blocker in cases of failed surgery or for those who are unable to pursue surgical options for treatment of Cushing's syndrome.

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About The Author

Stacey Thoroughgood Headshot for Bio

Stacey Thoroughgood is an Associate News Producer for CBN News. Thoroughgood has worked at CBN since 2022 and specializes in written journalism. Her educational background is a blend of communication, politics, and government studies, which often she showcases through the content she develops for CBN News. Thoroughgood actively supports youth advocacy efforts and higher education accessibility within the Commonwealth of Virginia, has served as a Teaching Assistant at Regent University within the School of Divinity and School of Communication and the Arts, and alongside her service to CBN, is