Appeals court upholds access to abortion drug while tightening rules

The 2-1 vote from the New Orleans judges narrowed the Texas judge's ruling.

Published: April 13, 2023 6:45am

Updated: April 13, 2023 7:10am

A federal appeals court late Wednesday preserved access to the abortion drug mifepristone but tightened rules so that the medication cannot be dispensed by mail and can given only to women who are at most seven weeks into gestation, not 10.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling after the Biden administration appealed a decision from Texas U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee who ruled that the Food and Drug Administration violated federal standards by rushing the pill's approval process.

The 2-1 vote from the New Orleans judges narrowed Kacsmaryk's ruling, which had been paused for a week to give time for an appeal, according to The Associated Press.

The latest order means that the FDA's original approval of mifepristone more than two decades ago is still in effect, but the agency's relaxing of the rules surrounding the drug in 2016 is placed on hold.

Mifepristone is used with the drug misoprostol to induce an abortion. 

The appeals court's ruling on the abortifacient may be brought to the Supreme Court by either the Biden administration or the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative legal group that originally filed the case.  

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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