In seven days the U.S. will stop prescribing and distributing mifepristone, one of the two drugs that are used to induce abortions. It has been available in the U.S. market for over two decades. Medical groups defended the drug, claiming that studies showed it was safer than Tylenol or Viagra and sent fewer patients to the emergency department than these drugs. The judge stated that the FDA's position had probably led to deaths and injuries among women who took the drug. If the conservative 5th Circuit does not block the ruling, women who want to terminate a pregnancy will have two options. They can choose a surgical abortion, or they can take a pill called misoprostol. This is less effective if it is not taken in conjunction with mifepristone. Amarillo, a high-profile case that has attracted attention from both sides of this issue as well as medical professionals and associations who have been waiting for a decision on the temporary order since weeks. Bloomberg reports that the ruling on abortion pills is not Kacsmaryk’s last word in the case. There are still many court filings to be made and there may even be a trial. Kacsmaryk was expected to rule in favor of the anti-abortion group. The lawyers for the conservative religious rights groups who sued FDA chose Amarillo because they knew that Kacsmaryk would be assigned to all civil and criminal cases. Kacsmaryk overturned a federal regulation in December that was intended to increase teen access. Mifepristone first became approved for use in 2000, and was intended to be used during the first seven weeks. In 2016, FDA expanded that window to ten weeks. The first pill in the two-drug combination most commonly used to end a pregnancies, it blocks the hormone progesterone which is necessary to sustain a pregnancy. Kacsmaryk made his decision at a time when the federal government was taking steps to relax restrictions on abortion pills. The pills can now be dispensed by authorized pharmacies instead of being restricted to doctors' offices. The ruling today is a massive step in the direction of Republicans' goal to ban abortions nationwide and could cause chaos across our country.
Rightwing activists have sought out a judge who is extremist in his desire for women's rights to be taken away.