Skip to content

Texas Judge Overturns FDA Approval of Abortion Pill Mifepristone

A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary ruling, invalidating the FDA's 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. If the order withstands court challenges, it could make it harder for patients to access abortions in states where it is legal.

Mifepristone tablet
Mifepristone tablet

Conflicting Ruling by Washington State Judge

A federal judge in Washington State issued a contradictory ruling less than an hour after the Texas decision, ordering the FDA to maintain mifepristone's availability in the 18 states that filed the lawsuit.

The conflicting orders by two federal judges, both preliminary injunctions, appear to create a legal standoff likely to escalate to the Supreme Court.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

President Biden Vows to Fight Texas Ruling

President Biden stated that his administration would fight the Texas ruling, emphasizing its potential nationwide impact on women's access to medication.

Significance of the Texas Ruling

The order by Judge Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, could result in the most consequential abortion decision since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June.

Justice Department Appeals Texas Ruling

The Justice Department filed a notice that it is appealing the Texas ruling and will ask for the decision to stay while the appeal is pending.

A coalition of anti-abortion groups and doctors filed a lawsuit to end the legal use of mifepristone, claiming the FDA did not adequately review the scientific evidence or follow proper protocols when approving the medication in 2000.

FDA building
FDA building

FDA and Justice Department Dispute Claims

The FDA and the Justice Department have strongly disputed the claims in the lawsuit, defending the agency's rigorous reviews of mifepristone over the years.

Even if the Texas ruling is upheld, legal experts suggest that manufacturers may have several options to continue supplying the drug and providers to continue prescribing it.

Abortion Providers' Contingency Plans

If legal access to mifepristone is blocked, some abortion providers plan to provide only the second abortion medication, misoprostol, which is used safely in many countries.

Since last year's Supreme Court ruling overturning the national right to abortion, medication abortions have increasingly become the focus of political and legal battles.

Washington State Lawsuit Directly Challenges Texas Case

The lawsuit filed in Washington state by Democratic attorneys general was intended to be a direct challenge to the Texas case, seeking to declare the FDA's approval of mifepristone lawful and valid.