DOJ seeks Supreme Court injunction on abortion drug after appeals court ruling allows some restrictions to remain

by mcardinal

Matt Bush, FISM News

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday the Justice Department will ask the Supreme Court to intervene to stop all restrictions set by a federal judge on the abortion pill mifepristone

The administration will seek emergency relief from the Supreme Court Garland said in a statement, after an appeals court allowed some restrictions to the life-ending drug to remain in place

Last night, a little before midnight, a federal appeals court in New Orleans allowed continued access to mifepristone, partially overturning a Texas ruling that would have halted the use of the abortion pill.

The decision comes in response to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s Friday ruling that halted the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the drug, which would have potentially saved millions of unborn children’s lives.

Mifepristone, along with a second drug, misoprostol, terminates pregnancies and was approved by the FDA more than two decades ago. Kacsmaryk’s ruling sided with pro-life groups. He said that he found that the FDA approval of the life-ending pill was granted hastily and improperly, and directed the FDA to put a halt on its approval of mifepristone while the case made its way through court.

Yesterday, the plaintiffs reiterated their arguments before the appeals court, saying that the FDA failed to adequately consider the drug’s risks, including complications requiring hospital visits and psychological harm.

They said women “will continue to spend their limited time, energy, and resources dealing with the tragic effects of these dangerous drugs, and suffer spiritual and emotional distress from these tragic events.”

The Biden administration wasted no time in filing an appeal to the ruling Friday night, almost immediately after Kacsmaryk’s ruling. Critics of his ruling said that it would improperly undermine the FDA’s approval of prescriptions and medications.

“The court in this case has substituted its judgment for FDA, the expert agency that approves drugs. 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,” Biden said in a statement late Friday night.


The three-judge panel did say that part of the ruling would go into effect on Saturday. The appeals court allowed Kacsmryk’s ruling that the 2021 stipulation that the drug could be sent by mail will be put on hold pending a further ruling.

The appeals court also allowed the suspension of changes made in 2016 that significantly changed the approved use of the drug. 

Some of the main changes from 2016 that will now be suspended include:

  • Patients were permitted to take the drug up to 70 days after gestation rather than 49.
  • Dosage recommendations of the drug were significantly increased.
  • Patients no longer were required to schedule an in-person visit for post-treatment evaluation.
  • The prescriber could be anyone labeled as a “healthcare provider” rather than the more narrow designation of a “physician.”