A Texas judge heard arguments from both sides Wednesday in a case questioning the legality of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2000 approval of the chemical abortion drug mifepristone.
As reported by CatholicVote, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sued the FDA in November 2022 on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the Catholic Medical Association, and others.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk gave ADF two hours to present their case. The ADF’s’ attorney spoke for about 90 minutes, asking the judge to issue an injunction immediately revoking the drug’s approval.
The Guttmacher Institute, the research arm for Planned Parenthood, recently confirmed that over half of all abortions in the United States today are induced “medically” (e.g. with mifepristone).
ADF Senior Counsel Erik Baptist presented evidence of the FDA’s mishandling of the initial 2000 approval process. He argued that the FDA has been putting pregnant mothers in increasingly dangerous situations since 2000 as safeguard after safeguard surrounding chemical abortion has been eradicated.
According to AP News, Baptist “told the judge that removing mifepristone from the market ‘would restore proper policing power to the states’ — a reference to last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and left it to states to decide on the legality of abortion.”
Outside the courthouse, a small group of protestors from the Women’s March held a “Kangaroo Court.” The protest focused on an anonymous source’s report to the Washington Post that Judge Kacsmaryk delayed putting the hearing on the public calendar “to try to minimize disruptions.”
Protestors wore kangaroo and judge costumes “to expose the case’s lack of merit and Judge Kacsmaryk’s loyalties to religious extremist politicians.”
Women’s March Executive Director Rachel O’Leary Carmona attended the protest. She accused the judge of “unconstitutional” procedure by delaying public notice of the hearing, which she called “premeditated secrecy.” She also called the Amarillo Federal Court “illegitimate.”
The Supreme Court ruled in Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia (1980) that the press and the public have a limited First Amendment right to attend criminal trials. Two concurring opinions in the case noted that the press and public have historically had qualified access to civil proceedings as well.
Any judge has the responsibility and right, however, to limit public access to court proceedings in order to “preserve a higher interest,” such as protecting the safety or privacy of litigants and court officers.
In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, radical abortion groups protested threateningly outside the homes of pro-life justices, in violation of federal law.
A man armed with a gun, a knife, and burglary tools was arrested in June 2022 near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The would-be assassin admitted to law enforcement that he was motivated by Kavanaugh’s pro-life position in the yet-to-be-released decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and that he had intended to murder the justice.
Following a brief recess, the defense lawyers for the FDA spoke, warning that if Judge Kacsmaryk ruled in favor of the plaintiffs he would “upend the status quo” and cause “significant public harm.” Arguments concluded at around 1:30pm local time.
According to USA Today, Judge Kacsmaryk indicated that there would be no decision Wednesday, but that he will take the arguments “under advisement” and issue a ruling “as soon as possible.”