Texas judge: Abortion medication mifepristone shouldn’t be FDA-approved

Not even one full year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a Texas judge has unilaterally decided that the FDA’s authorization of the abortion medication mifepristone is “improper.” As in, a conservative hack in a robe decided he has the power to overturn the federal protections on abortive drugs, which are (obviously) federally regulated, not state-regulated. Many states have abolished abortion clinics and curtailed access to physical clinics where people seeking abortions could see doctors, but states could do next to nothing about mifepristone, the completely safe and legal abortive drug. Until now.

Federal judges in two states issued contradictory decisions Friday evening that could drastically impact access to a drug used in nearly all medication abortions in the U.S. In Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that the Food and Drug Administration improperly approved the abortion pill mifepristone more than 20 years ago. A coalition of anti-abortion rights groups called the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine sued the FDA last year. The judge issued a nationwide injunction pausing the FDA’s approval, which is set to take effect in seven days.

Within hours of that decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice issued a ruling in a separate case in Washington state. That lawsuit filed by a coalition of Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia sought to block the FDA from pulling the drug from the market.

Rice’s decision blocks the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of Mifepristone.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson told NPR on Friday that he believes the judge’s ruling could make it possible for patients in those states to continue using mifepristone for abortion in the short term — even after the Texas decision takes effect.

“If you live in Washington State or one of the 17 states that joined Washington in our lawsuit…then the judge’s ruling in our case preserves the status quo on ensuring that access to mifepristone remains available,” Ferguson said. For the rest, he said, “The Texas judge’s ruling seriously has the potential to eliminate that access for mifepristone here in the coming days.”

President Biden said the ruling in Texas could have widespread consequences. “If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks,” the president said in a statement. “It is the next big step toward the national ban on abortion that Republican elected officials have vowed to make law in America,” Biden added. He said that the administration would fight the ruling, noting, “The Department of Justice has already filed an appeal and will seek an immediate stay of the decision.”

[From NPR]

It’s likely this case will end up going to the Supreme Court. I can’t wait to see the ideological hoops the conservative justices crawl through to end up upholding Kacsmaryk’s ruling, which doesn’t seem to be based on case law OR science. Like, mifepristone is completely safe, safer than many FDA-approved drugs currently sold in pharmacies around the country. A random judge in Texas has zero standing to unilaterally decide on ideological grounds that an FDA-approved drug shouldn’t be FDA-approved.

The only positive thing I have to say is that this bullsh-t is a giant loser for the Republican party – their hardline anti-choice stance is deeply unpopular and it’s costing them elections at nearly every level. I don’t know what will happen next.

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42 Responses to “Texas judge: Abortion medication mifepristone shouldn’t be FDA-approved”

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  1. equality says:

    Like Biden said, everyone should be worried by this because they could decide any medication shouldn’t be used for whatever controlling reason they think up.

  2. AuntRara says:

    Next these stooges will block all vaccines in order to make their shrinking base happy. It’s madness.

  3. Miranda says:

    Sometimes, I can’t help thinking that America is a mistake. In many ways, it’s like 50 separate countries, which is way too many to expect any sort of cohesiveness or total agreement when it comes to priorities. We have a number of states where people are apparently content with living in a theocracy. People who view woman as little more than incubators, and want to put POC “back in their place”, and feel threatened by drag queens, and want to marry their guns. It’s frankly f–king terrifying, and I don’t know what to do about it because gerrymandering is the order of the day.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Between gerrymandering and voter suppression, these red states have rigged the system to their advantage. Even Republicans in Florida oppose the “concealed carry without a permit” law which DeSantis just signed. The extreme right wing of the party, comprised of actual fascists, has total control of the “GOP” at the moment. If there are any sane people left in this cult, it’s up to them to take control. But there are still many people in these states who are as opposed to this madness as we are.

      • NotTheOne says:

        Gerrymandering is a serious issue and by stacking the courts with judges who are comfortable bending the law, the GOP enables their continued use. And now the SC has gutted election laws. It’s a bad situation.

      • ScorpioMoon says:

        At this point, a “vote” for the GOP is a vote for fascism. A person who claims to be a proud Republican is in fact just a proud fascist. They know that the Boomers are dying and among millennials and Gen Z, support is dwindling for the party, so they’re trying to ensure that future generations are so desperately poor and ignorant that they’re the perfect audience for the conservative fake news cycle and its racist, hate-filled message. And, of course, so that there is always a fresh crop of future wage slaves to burn through. Their master plan is utterly transparent and it’s despicable, and it ultimately won’t work because you can’t have an entire nation of ignorant wage slaves and still be a global leader, so some folks will still have to be educated, and by and large college-educated folks veer left because they’re taught how to think critically and independently—aka, exactly what the GOP is trying to stomp out otherwise.

    • Michelle says:

      I live in Kansas, a deep red state with a gerrymandered GOP supermajority. As the world saw last summer —when voters got the chance to fairly vote, people voted against the fascist “value them both” abortion ban. The media was shocked but shouldn’t have been. Kansas is a mostly rural state but we used to have strong Dem state representatives.

      I live in a blue dot in the state but I please don’t assume that all people in red states are okay with living in a theocracy. What the GOP is trying to do on a national basis they started doing in states years ago. Im on a soapbox for a reason — if the GOP gets national power again, we are ALL living in a Handmaids Tale. So we need to fight like our lives depend on it. Americans are much more aligned politically than the media and GOP want you to believe. End of sermon and sorry to preach.

      • schmootc says:

        This is exactly the issue – it is easy for those of us in blue states to forget that there are many, many people in red states that are suffering and can’t just move. And when people talk about civil war, how does a war between urban and rural areas play out? Case in point is all those RWNJ in eastern Oregon who now want to be part of Idaho. My Dad, still living in Idaho, read a letter to the editor or commentary that suggested if they take eastern Oregon, then Oregon has to take Boise. (Because Boise is so liberal? HA!)

    • otaku fairy says:

      Agreed. It seems like there aren’t enough laws in place yet to protect people from religion’s control. More effort is put in place to protect a person’s right to practice their faith than in protecting another person’s right to not suffer or die for that person’s faith. Those don’t always have to be either/or things, but the latter needs to take priority.
      In unsurprising news, there’s also evidence that the mental health of women and girls has taken a hit because of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. But the right always wants to gaslight by insisting that increases in anxiety and depression reported by young women are craziness due to the female sex being allowed Too Much Freedom Since the 60’s/ exposure to liberal media. 🙁


  4. Boxy Lady says:

    Well then, Viagra needs to be blocked too. Let these old men’s dicks shrivel up the way God and nature intended.

  5. Brenda says:

    I am relieved that I get to live and practice medicine in California. It could be worse.
    Also, when my patients are looking at where to go to college, I do suggest they look at states where abortion is an option, should they need it.
    Also maybe they consider states where marijuana isn’t treated like some god awful crime. I am not actually in favor of THC on a still developing brain, but young people are known for experimenting, and not going to a state where that can have such dire consequences is a better choice.

  6. Eurydice says:

    Just to be clear, this isn’t a Texas judge – he’s a federal judge in Texas. So, he can definitely rule on federal regulations.

    • HamsterJam says:

      Thank you, that was confusing me.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      But he can’t overrule the FDA. Their decisions about prescription drugs are strictly science based. His rulings are supposed to be based in law and fact. This decision is way out of his lane as a federal judge.

      • schmootc says:

        That’s what has confused me – like who is this one guy that gets to decide this crap? He’s not a scientist or a doctor, what the hell does he know about drug approval at all? It’s all just utter bullshit.

    • Doppelgangers R'Us says:

      He is a Federal judge. One Democratic Senators stopped for several years being confirmed, until the Trump final push. He is a graduate of Amarillo Christian College or some such a RW nest. He has a long history and is not qualified to sit on any bench other than a park bench.

  7. ScorpioMoon says:

    Jfc, I’ve had it with Republicans legislating women’s bodies. Can I get a California or Massachusetts-based judge to sue the pants off Texas for trying to enforce ITS political views on the rest of the nation, or just, I don’t know, do something, anything to protect this nation’s citizens?

    And on a personal note, as someone who just spent five days in a hospital because of complications from an incomplete D&C (for a pregnancy that was wanted but was never viable in the first place), I have so completely had it with these lunatics who are only doing this to control and punish women. Don’t want an abortion/D&C for a non-viable pregnancy? Cool, then don’t get one. No one is sending you to jail for not getting an abortion and if you want to lose your life for an ectopic pregnancy or a molar pregnancy because you truly believe it’s god’s will or something, then that’s your prerogative. But who the hell gave you the right to think that you can decide that for other women and their lives? And no, sorry, Jesus doesn’t count, and no, the founding fathers don’t count either, because a bunch of 18th century slaveowners who didn’t want to pay their taxes were not giving politically, morally, or socially relevant insights into this particular issue at the time the Constitution was drafted. (But I doubt that would have favored it, considering separation of church and state is a core principle.) Abortion is healthcare for women, and without access to it, women die. It’s fully preventable and we should all be furious that these religious zealots and fascist wingnuts have manipulated the system just to condemn women to die.

    • TwinFalls says:

      I’m so sorry for your struggle and I share your outrage. These religious zealots need to be shamed back into the dark ages. There is no place for this anti-science, bible based belief system in modern law. It’s insanity.

      • ScorpioMoon says:

        Thank you. I view so much of this as a response to capitalism as well. Historically speaking, fascism only takes root and thrives when people are angry, impoverished/living in a failed economy, and looking for something or someone to blame for the state of the economy and their general despair.

        Fascism protects the wealthy and the status quo, but manufactures a scapegoat (for the Third Reich, it was Jews; for the U.S. right now, it’s drag queens/trans folks, Black people, and women seeking abortion care) for the poors to direct all that outrage toward and presents itself as an all-powerful solution for controlling and wiping out that threat, and that’s exactly what we have going on right now. It’s so shameful and it’s shocking to see common, everyday people still actively fooled by this strategy and compelled to vote against their own interests.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ ScorpioMoon, please accept my immense empathy for your health struggles. I hope that you are able to recover physically as well as the emotional pain that you are experiencing and suffering from. I am sending you virtual hugs and excellent juju in your recovery. 🤗🤗

      • ScorpioMoon says:

        Thank you for this @BothSidesNow. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life; I had three hemorrhages followed by two surgeries and a blood transfusion, and I almost lost my uterus. And because it was a molar pregnancy, I still have to go back for weekly blood tests to monitor my HCG levels, because they’re still high and if they stay high, I’ll likely have to go through chemotherapy, too. (Molars can lead to a rare form of cancer if they’re not fully removed, another reason why abortion is healthcare.)

        As grateful as I am to be in recovery, I’m just enraged that other women in this country are at risk because of religious zealots politicizing on this issue. Living in a blue state, I was able to get life-saving care, but so many women living in red states right now do not have that same right and it is heartbreaking. It’s shameful that in 2023, with all the technology and scientific research we have at our fingertips, there are still many people out there who think women deserve to die because a clump of cells matters more than their lives do.

  8. Brassy Rebel says:

    At least, in recent elections, we are seeing these Nazi adjacents suffer the political consequences of their extremism. The question is when this reaches the Supreme Court, will the right wing there decide it’s gone too far and is hurting their chances to win? Notice how quiet DC Republicans have been about this abortion ruling. Senate Republicans pushed this judge through confirmation knowing how extreme he is. But that was before these decisions started hurting them in elections.

  9. C says:

    This is a huge problem not only because more than half of abortions are currently medication-based, but because mifepristone is also a medication used for medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease, endometriosis, etc. Already women are reporting they have to fight to get them filled.
    This is what anti-choicers often don’t understand (and don’t care anyway), that what they try to introduce for their beliefs will have ripple effects everywhere. Already there are hospitals that have decided not to admit pregnant women for labor to avoid the legal liabilities that these anti-choice policies have created.

    • ScorpioMoon says:

      I don’t know how any woman could vote Republican right now and still sleep at night.

      You’re not in the party of family values when these laws you claim to support can lead to the deaths of other married women who wanted their pregnancies but now have life-threatening medical complications. And of course, we all know that rich Republican women will always have access to healthcare (including medically-necessary abortion healthcare), but I personally hope journalists start digging in and exposing these women on a grand scale, in the same way that they’ve uncovered and exposed political sex scandals in the past.

  10. Amee says:

    My friend’s daughter, who lives in the blue NE decided to go to college in a dark red state and I have to remind myself to *not* say Why would an 18 year old woman willingly put herself in the position of being in a red state? Probably because her parents will just bring her north should she need it. I hope they will help her classmates, too.

  11. girl_ninja says:

    I thinks it’s the end of days guys. I’ll still fight for democracy, women’s rights et all, but I am so sad and discouraged that it will take all my energy. The country is so hateful, divisive and demonic. I am so tired.

    The judge who ruled on this was appointed by Donald Trump. DONALD TRUMP. A man who can barely read and stand upright. My Lord.

  12. AmyB says:

    The issue of abortion is backfiring on Republicans in significant ways. Like with this recent ruling by the Federal judge in Texas suspending the FDA’s longtime approval of the drug mifepristone for use in medication abortions. As long as they keep passing these restrictive abortion laws, they will lose when it counts. The fact is, some 70% of all Americans support the right to an abortion (with restrictions) – that isn’t changing. But it is beyond maddening continuing to see the GOP attempt to control women’s healthcare decisions!! What kind of precedent does this create by allowing the courts to rule on the FDA’s approval of medications??? That is based on science.

    The young vote (Gen Z etc.) has been coming out in incredible numbers in recent elections. They are the ones who are most affected by these rulings. They are the ones going to school having to do shooting drills because of the epidemic of mass shootings in this country. They are the ones who will be impacted the most by these restrictive abortion laws. And as we have seen in our most recent elections, they are pissed and coming out to use their voice/and vote!

    • C says:

      It’s also reassuring to see that more people are trying to get abortion access itself on ballots. Usually people vote straight down a party line which if it’s Republican will cause bad impacts, but people are more likely to support abortion rights individually on a ballot (Kansas etc).

    • nisa says:

      You gotta love consequences! I’ve noticed that in every new poll, the number of respondents supporting some amount of choice grows and those supporting a total ban shrinks. I think it’s single digits at this point. IMO that’s partly because we’ve seen the reality of restricted access: 10 year old rape victims traveling out of state to get healthcare, women being forced to continue non-viable pregnancies, pregnant women in medical crisis who aren’t “sick enough” to get an abortion, etc. Post-Dobbs, I’ve had pro-life friends and family twist themselves into pretzels trying to rationalize how terminating a rape victim’s pregnancy, or abortions before 12 weeks aren’t “really” abortions. They are finally waking up and realizing the potential impact to themselves and the women they care about. And when Republican politicians try to walk it back or stay quiet, something like this happens and yet again, they show us exactly who they are.

      • ScorpioMoon says:

        As much as it guts me every time, I’m really glad that more women who don’t fit the GOP narrative around abortion care are coming forward to share their narratives with journalists. I think the more stories we see from ordinary women in their late 20s/30s who were actively planning and then forced to carry nonviable pregnancies until they were close to death, the more public outrage for this grows. Something like 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and one in 50 end up being ectopic through no fault of the mother’s. It’s heartbreaking to hear about women in those situations being punished for something they absolutely cannot control (on top of losing their babies), but by coming forward and sharing, they’re helping to dispel misconceptions around abortion and those who seek them, and it’s forcing Christians and GOP politicians to turn themselves into pretzels in order to “justify” why these laws are valid and serve a greater good.

      • nisa says:

        ScorpioMoon, absolutely yes. The women sharing their heartbreaking stories (you included) and not allowing the GOP to change the narrative are heroes. I just read what happened to you and am so grateful you were able to get the care you needed! Stay strong, get healthy and take the time you need to recover emotionally and physically. Virtual hugs and good karma coming your way!

    • Deering24 says:

      Up until now, the GOP has been great at playing the long game. But they are seriously fucking up when it comes to getting future voters. And they’ve lost the element of ambush–thanks to Roe vs. Wade getting rescinded, more and more people are seeing their plays. The only way they can hang on/win is stack the deck with the SC , Fox propaganda, and gerrymandering.

  13. Celina says:

    Question: when are all these “prolifers” going to do anything about the reprehensible rate of poor maternity outcomes especially when it comes to People of Color?

    Or poverty? Gun violence? Capital punishment? The list goes on and on.

    • Blithe says:

      Honestly, I don’t think they care. One of the reasons that health care has traditionally been tied to jobs — instead of a universal system of access to healthcare — is that it makes it easier to deny health care to certain groups, which have included POC, people in service jobs, and people paid hourly wages vs salaries. As to gun violence, if Sandy Hook didn’t change things, it’s hard to imagine what will. And I do agree with you, Celina: the list goes on and on. And it’s really nothing new. What’s new, I think, is how openly politicized and intertwined with “Christian Nationalism” these issues have become, to the point of influencing laws and policies.

  14. HuffnPuff says:

    I really don’t understand what was wrong with allowing abortions. All Republicans are doing is making pregnancies more dangerous which is hardly pro-life. How many more women have to die or lose their ability to conceive before they realize that?

    We need someone from a religion that doesn’t have rules against abortion to sue for violation of the first amendment. If your religion allows abortion then it seems that you would have a pretty solid case. It would also be hilarious to see Christian churches backpedaling when they see all the women joining these other religions to preserve their bodily autonomy. I wonder which religion would become the majority?

    The FL bill that will ban breast cancer patients from hormone therapy and mastectomies is insane. We need more women in politics obviously. I don’t think men should be in charge anymore. They have shown time and again that they are incapable of governing.

    • Blithe says:

      HuffnPuff, as far as I can tell, the people behind the politicization of medical decisions are primarily white Republican Christian Nationalists — very different from mainline Christians. Perhaps someone who knows more than I do can chime in here. Most Christian denominations and churches don’t prohibit abortion, and consider abortion to be a personal decision.

      I think that Catholics and some evangelical and fundamentalist groups prohibit abortion— but these groups are hardly representative of most Christian, let alone most Americans.
      Alongside the politicization of abortion and birth control is the increasing likelihood that medical services will be delivered in religiously affiliated hospital settings. While most of us in urban areas still have an array of choices, people in areas served by smaller numbers of religiously affiliated hospitals — often Catholic — already have restricted access to health care.