Federal judges issue dueling decisions on abortion drug mifepristone

A federal judge in Texas has ordered a halt to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone on Friday.  Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk signed an injunction which directs the FDA to halt the approval of mifepristone while a lawsuit challenging its safety and approval works its way through court. Kacsmaryk stayed the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug, but is giving the federal government seven days to “seek emergency relief from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.” While the federal judge is halting the FDA’s approval of the drug, the plaintiffs, several conservative groups, wanted the approvals of chemical abortion drugs suspended and removed from the list of approved drugs. DEMOCRAT AGS SUE FDA ON ABORTION MEDICATION RESTRICTION, CLAIM IT’S ‘SAFER’ THAN VIAGRA Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice issued a conflicting preliminary injunction barring the FDA from “altering” the current availability of mifepristone Friday in certain Democratic states that sued the FDA, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state.  Rice made the injunction after attorneys general in 12 Democratic-led states sued the government agency in February, challenging their restrictions on the distribution of the abortion pill. The attorneys general argue that the restrictions aren’t supported by evidence. The lawsuit filed by the states says that mifepristone is “safer than many other common drugs FDA regulates, such as Viagra and Tylenol.” FDA TO PERMIT SOME RETAIL PHARMACIES TO DISPENSE ABORTION PILLS Doctors and pharmacies currently prescribing and dispensing the pill must get a special certification. The FDA places special restrictions on mifepristone under a safety program that’s intended to minimize the risk of drugs that could be dangerous, but has relaxed restrictions on the drug several times.  In January, the FDA allowed certified retail pharmacies to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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