Crime & Justice

US federal judge halts regulatory approval of abortion pill

Update 1: Adds Kamala Harris, Planned Parenthood remarks

Washington, Apr 7 (EFE).- A federal judge in the United States ruled Friday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violated the rules more than two decades ago when it approved the abortion pill mifepristone for use.

But Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who presides over the US district court in Amarillo, Texas, suspended the decision for seven days to allow President Joe Biden’s administration to challenge the ruling before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

And the picture was complicated further later Friday when – in a separate case – a federal judge in Washington state ordered the FDA to keep the drug on the market.

An official at the White House told CNN that Justice Department lawyers were reviewing both of the decisions to determine how to proceed.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who has championed the cause of reproductive rights in the Biden administration, said the court decision sets a “dangerous precedent.”

“It is contrary to good public policy to allow the courts and politicians to tell the FDA what to do,” Harris told reporters in Tennessee, according to United States media reports.

Planned Parenthood, the largest network of reproductive services clinics in the US, rejected the ruling in a statement, calling it an “unprecedented and deeply damaging measure.”

“Today’s decision by a judge in Texas to block FDA approval of mifepristone is outrageous and reveals how the court system is being used as a weapon to further restrict abortion nationwide,” the president of the organization said in a statement.

Since last summer, when the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal nationwide, the use of medications to terminate pregnancies has increased.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights NGO, estimates that medications were used in 54 percent of all abortions in the US in 2022.


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