CV NEWS FEED // The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling Wednesday placing several restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone but allowing it to remain authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Fifth Circuit, widely considered one of the more conservative appeals courts in the country, has appellate jurisdiction over the district courts of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
In addition to ending mail orders of mifepristone, the court placed several other restrictions on the abortion-causing drug. As CNBC reported:
Patients would have to receive a prescription from a doctor and have three follow-up appointments in person. The restrictions would also shorten the time period when women can take the pill to 49 days into their pregnancy, down from 70 days.
Judge James Ho wrote a dissenting opinion saying the 5th Circuit should have gone further and revoked the FDA’s authorization of mifepristone, a move that would have effectively ended the legal use of the drug in the United States.
“I don’t understand this theme — the FDA can do no wrong,” said Ho during a hearing on Wednesday. “That is basically the narrative you all are putting forth — nobody should ever question the FDA.”
The Fifth Circuit judge added, “We are allowed to look at the FDA just like we are allowed to look at any agency. That’s the role of the courts.”
In April, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas stayed the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. However, just minutes later, another federal judge issued the exact opposite ruling, ordering the abortion drug to remain authorized by the FDA.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Erin Morrow Hawley called the Wednesday ruling “a significant victory for the doctors and medical associations we represent and, more importantly, the health and safety of women.”
Hawley is vice president of the Center for Life & Regulatory Practice. “The 5th Circuit rightly required the FDA to do its job and restore crucial safeguards for women and girls, including ending illegal mail-order abortions,” she said:
The FDA will finally be made to account for the damage it has caused to the health of countless women and girls and the rule of law by unlawfully removing every meaningful safeguard from the chemical abortion drug regimen.
The FDA’s unprecedented and unlawful actions did not reflect scientific judgment but rather revealed politically driven decisions to push a dangerous drug regimen without regard to women’s health or the rule of law.
According to the ADF’s post-ruling press release, the pro-life and pro-religious freedom legal organization’s
attorneys filed the lawsuit against the FDA in November 2022 on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and doctors Shaun Jester, Regina Frost-Clark, Tyler Johnson, and George Delgado. It is the first lawsuit to challenge federal government officials for their illegal approval of chemical abortion drugs that harm women and girls.