After a controversial ruling allowing Texas abortion funds to continue to support women seeking out-of-state abortions, a new ruling has halted the Food and Drug Administration from approving an abortion-inducing drug. 

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled in favor of multiple groups and medical associations that “sued the administration to challenge multiple administrative actions culminating in the 2000 approval of the chemical abortion regimen for mifepristone.”

Mifepristone is an abortifacient drug that blocks the hormone progesterone, which is needed for a pregnancy to continue. The synthetic drug is used to halt nutrition and ultimately starve the unborn human to death. Once the baby has been starved, the FDA includes another drug, misoprostol, to induce cramping and contractions to rid the unborn human from the mother’s womb. 

In his 67-page opinion, Kacsmaryk argued that the FDA violated the Comstock Act, which declares that “[e]very obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance” to be “nonmailable matter” that “shall not be conveyed in the mails or delivered from any post office or by any letter carrier.”

The act contains another clause relating to chemical abortion drugs:

[E]very article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use; and [e]very article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose.

Judge Kacsmaryk also states that the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug violated Subpart H—titled the “Accelerated Approval of New Drugs for Serious or Life-Threatening Illnesses”—which applies to drugs that are studied for their effectiveness and safety in treating serious or life-threatening illnesses and requires that the drug must provide a meaningful therapeutic benefit to patients.

However, Kacsmaryk states that pregnancy is not an illness. He added that the drug’s testing was inadequate since each woman received an ultrasound to confirm gestational age and exclude ectopic pregnancies, all involved physicians had experience in performing surgical abortions, all of the patients were within one hour of emergency facilities, and the women were monitored for four hours to check for adverse effects after taking the drug.

While many pro-choice advocates are angered by the recent ruling, a pro-life group called Human Coalition applauded Kacsmaryk’s decision.

“We applaud Judge Kacsmaryk for his inerrant ruling, and his thorough treatment of the case. Unflinching from the personal threats and political coverage of the case, he steadily relies on science and the law to rule correctly that the abortion pill irreparably damages women and unborn humans,” said Chelsey Youman, Human Coalition’s national director of public policy.

We have long acknowledged that children in the womb are entitled to equal protection of the law just as their mothers are. This recognition of the humanity of the child in the womb is a most welcome progression of common sense legal reasoning. We also praise his conclusion that the FDA was wrong in ever approving the deadly abortion pill regimen, rightfully calling out their eugenicist legal arguments for the drug.”

After the ruling and opinion were released, the Biden administration filed its notice of appeal with President Joe Biden, stating that “the lawsuit and this ruling is another unprecedented step in taking away basic freedoms from women and putting their health at risk.” 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.