Appellate court uphold restrictions on abortion pill access

 August 19, 2023

This week, a U.S. appellate court upheld restrictions that had previously been placed on mifepristone, the pill that is commonly used to commit what some refer to as a chemical abortion. 

According to Reuters, a three-judge panel for the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the restrictions - or at least some of the restrictions.


This particular lawsuit was originally filed in November in Texas by several anti-abortion groups and doctors against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What these individuals challenged is, first, the FDA's initial approval of the drug, and second, the subsequent regulatory changes that made the drug more widely available.

The regulatory changes include a 2016 change that, according to NBC News, "extended the window in which mifepristone could be used to terminate pregnancies from seven weeks gestation to 10 weeks," and a 2021 change that allowed "the drug to be administered via telehealth and sent by mail."

Regarding the FDA's approval of the drug, the challengers specifically argued that the FDA failed to properly evaluate the drug's consequences before approving it.

Procedural history

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk - an appointee of former President Donald Trump - initially ruled in favor of the anti-abortion group, finding "evidence indicating FDA faced significant political pressure" to approve the drug.

This ruling suspended the FDA's 2000 approval of mifepristone.

This prompted an emergency appeal from President Joe Biden's U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The latest

Now, a three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on the case.

The Washington Examiner reports:

The 5th Circuit panel held that the challenges to mifepristone's initial approval and the generic approval likely fail, but that the 2016 and later rule changes likely succeed.

Attorney Erin Hawley, who is representing the challengers, put out a statement in which she said that "we are very pleased with the Fifth Circuit’s decision" because it "restores the original 2000 safeguards to a dangerous chemical drug regimen."

Hawley added, "This is a significant victory for the doctors and the medical associations we represent and more importantly, the health and safety of women."

It will thus come as no surprise that the Biden administration is not happy with the decision. Accordingly, the DOJ has indicated that it is planning on appealing the decision. But, there is also a possibility that Hawley will appeal the part of the appellate court's decision that overturned part of the lower court decision.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.