Texas Judge Bans Abortion Pills Nationwide

Texas Judge Bans Abortion Pills Nationwide
A still taken from a livestream of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s nomination hearing to the federal bench in 2017. (photo: U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary)

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointee in Texas just halted the F.D.A.’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill mifepristone in every state, making their distribution illegal in a week.

And then less than an hour later, Judge Thomas O. Rice in Washington state issued a ruling from a different case blocking the F.D.A. from taking “any action to remove mifepristone from the market or otherwise cause the drug to become less available.”

From the New York Times:

The conflicting orders by two federal judges appear to create a legal standoff likely to escalate to the Supreme Court. The drug will continue to be available at least in the short-term since the Texas judge stayed his own order for seven days to give the F.D.A. time to ask an appeals court to intervene.

The Texas order, by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee who has written critically about Roe v. Wade, is an initial ruling in a case that could result in the most consequential abortion decision since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June.

In his ruling, Kacsmaryk agreed with the group of anti-abortion groups and doctors who brought the lawsuit who said the F.D.A.’s approval process in 2000 was rushed and flawed, even though it’s been in use for over 2 decades.

Mifepristone is the first pill in a two-drug medication abortion regimen.

Some abortion providers say they will continue to provide the second drug in the regimen, misoprostol, which is used safely on its own in many countries where mifepristone is less available.

Today’s ruling from Kacsmaryk gives the Biden administration a week to file an appeal.