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We’re Holding Our Breath To See If Trump-Appointed Judge Removes Crucial Abortion Med From Market

Is anyone else sick of living through terrifying landmark cases?

A group of abortion rights protesters carry a banner reading "reproductive" in large letters.

This week, in news that should matter to everyone, whether they do or do not have a womb, the decision on a ridiculously important reproductive rights lawsuit could come at any moment and we are all waiting with bated breath. The final brief in a suit between Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-abortion special interest group, and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which seeks to remove a crucial medication used in abortions from the market, was filed on Friday, and now the decision could come down at any moment. 

The medication in question, mifepristone, is one of two oral pills commonly used in medication abortions in the united states. In 2000, the FDA approved the use of mifepristone, coupled with the other “abortion pill,” misoprostol, to help induce miscarriage if taken within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy—a.k.a. a medication abortion. 

The lawsuit filed by the crackpot conservative Christian group, including four doctors who pushed Ivermectin as a Covid cure, doesn’t have a leg to stand on, since both drugs have been shown to be safe and effective. Basically, their only claim is that the FDA shouldn’t have used the accelerated approval process in 2000, since that process is usually reserved for emergency life-saving drugs. UM! Sometimes abortions are emergencies and they are life-saving!

“We are vigorously defending FDA’s evidence-based decisions,” a spokesperson at the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. “The bottom line is that mifepristone went through a rigorous and evidence-based approval process — and we will continue to use every tool we have available to protect access to reproductive health care.”

So if the lawsuit is BS and should be thrown out, why are we so worried? Well, the ADF was very tricksy and knew what they were doing by filing their suit in Amarillo, Texas, where they pulled a federal judge by the name of Matthew Kacsmaryk to try their case. Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Trump, has longstanding ties to hard-right Christianity and will most probably rule to remove FDA approval from the drug, which is basically unprecedented. The approval process can start over but would take years. 

As of now, more than half of all abortions in the U.S. are medicated abortions performed using both mifepristone and misoprostol, so the result of this suit is massively important on a national scale. It is possible to do a medication abortion with just misoprostol, but the process isn’t technically approved by the FDA. Another option is to “ramp up” surgical abortions, but this won’t help the people who would have relied on mail and telehealth access to medication. 

Basically, there is hope but everything sucks. Is anything else new?

(featured image: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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