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Federal judge suspends FDA approval of abortion pill

The drug has recently become the most common method of abortion.

Published: April 7, 2023 7:17pm

Updated: April 7, 2023 7:45pm

A federal judge on Friday suspended the Food and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone, effectively stopping sale of the drug nationwide.

Mifepristone is one of two drugs necessary for a sort of abortion cocktail that allows recipients to terminate a pregnancy via pill. The second drug, misoprostol, is available through a traditional prescription. The FDA in January announced a regulatory change to permit major pharmacy chains to carry the drug in stores as opposed to mail-order pharmacies or select clinics.

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk on Friday suspended the FDA's approval of mifepristone outright. The case had been brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which asserted that the FDA did not fully review safety risks associated with the drug before its formal approval in 2000.

Kacsmaryk's ruling gave the government one week to appeal.

"The FDA’s approval of chemical abortion drugs over 20 years ago has always stood on shaky legal and moral ground, and after years of evading responsibility, it’s time for the government to do what it’s legally required to do: protect the health and safety of vulnerable women and girls," the ADF declared in March. " As we stated in court, the FDA never had the authority to approve these drugs and remove important safeguards, despite the substantial evidence of the harms women and girls who undergo this dangerous drug regimen could suffer."

The drug has recently become the most common method of abortion, Politico reported.

In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision in 2022 that overturned the constitutional right to abortion established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, numerous states have moved to restrict or entirely ban the procedure. 

Distribution of mifepristone became a political landmine for some major pharmacy chains, given the uncertain legal status of abortion in numerous states. In March, pharmacy giant Walgreens announced it would not distribute the drug in 21 states, citing the ongoing legal disputes over abortion. Misoprostol remains available through the pharmacy chain.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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