The Biden administration has requested intervention from the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court partially overturned its decision to delay FDA clearance of a popular abortion medication but did not do so fully.
After the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a decision late Wednesday night that partially overturned a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that had temporarily halted the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, Attorney General Merrick Garland declared in a statement on Thursday that the Department of Justice would appeal to the Supreme Court.
“The Fifth Circuit’s decision to partially reject the Justice Department’s request for a stay pending appeal in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA is strongly disagreed with by the department. To defend the FDA’s scientific judgment and safeguard Americans’ access to reliable reproductive care, we will ask the Supreme Court for immediate relief,” Garland announced in a statement.
The declaration was made at a time when the case was probably going to the Supreme Court owing to conflicting decisions from federal courts in Texas and Washington.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court’s decision on Wednesday states that the medication mifepristone, which is used in as many as half of all abortions, is only permissible to use up to the seventh week of pregnancy and cannot be delivered. According to a contradicting decision made last week by U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice, the FDA must continue to permit the medicine in the 17 Democratic-led states that had filed a case over chemical abortions.
Judges Catharina Haynes, appointed by former President George W. Bush, opposed restricting the chemical abortion pill, while judges Kurt Engelhardt and Andrew Oldham, both chosen by former President Donald Trump, supported the limitations.
The appeals court’s prohibitions were added because, according to the judges, “the nation operated — and mifepristone had been given to millions of pregnant women — without them for sixteen years” between the FDA’s changes to how mifepristone became available in 2016 and the original authorization of the drug in 2000.
Kacsmaryk cited the reliance on subpar research as one of the reasons he voted to withhold approval.
“Simply said, by eliminating further limits pertaining to chemical abortion medications that were in place during the last stage of the research, the FDA strengthened its already dubious 2000 Approval. And it did so by relying on research that exploited conditions that the FDA flatly refused to accept,” he added.