Advocacy groups slam federal move jeopardizing access to abortion pills
Advocacy organizations and medical groups have criticized a federal decision that could block access to an abortion pill, arguing it threatens access to safe health care.
The statements came after a Texas federal judge ruled Friday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of mifepristone more than two decades ago was improperly rushed and allowed a dangerous drug regimen to reach the market. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk gave the federal government a week to appeal the ruling and seek emergency assistance before it takes effect.
The FDA filed its appeal with the Conservative Party 5e Circuit Court of Appeals shortly after Friday night’s decision.
Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis Johnson slammed the ruling as a “scandal” in a statement, saying it “exposes the militarization of our justice system to further restrict abortion nationwide.”
“We should all be furious that a judge could unilaterally dismiss medical evidence and overturn FDA approval of a drug that has been used safely and effectively for more than two decades,” Johnson said. “This decision could threaten the FDA’s role in this country’s public health system, and – if upheld – will have broad and unprecedented consequences that go far beyond abortion.”
Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity — an organization that defenders for reproductive health care – said in a post on its website that the case was “the latest attempt by extremists to control people’s bodies and further restrict health care options”.
Kimberly Inez McGuire, the group’s executive director, said in a statement that the decision brings “more confusion than clarity”.
“People will always need abortions. People will still have abortions,” McGuire said. “Abortion pills are safe and effective.”
“Our fight is not over,” she continued. “We will continue to advocate for everyone to have access to the method of abortion care that is best for them without stigma, political interference or risk of criminalization.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics also weighed in, Tweeter that the decision would “disadvantage” adolescents and undermine the FDA’s “scientific decision-making process” when reproductive health care is already under threat.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned that the ruling could impact people’s ability to access abortions nationwide and put additional pressure on clinics and healthcare providers following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Deirdre Schifeling, national policy director for the ACLU, said the ruling could have implications beyond abortion and miscarriage care if upheld, leading to “certain fringe groups” being able to prevent the access to a certain medicine for political reasons.
“This case is further proof that anti-abortion groups and politicians never planned to stop overthrowing Roe and letting each state decide whether women can control their own bodies,” she said. .
Another decision issued separately from the Eastern District of Washington stop the FDA to “change the status quo and rights regarding the availability of mifepristone” in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
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