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Justice Department and Manufacturer Fight to Keep Medication Abortion Drug Available Despite Judge’s Order

Justice Department and Manufacturer Fight to Keep Medication Abortion Drug Available Despite Judge’s Order
After two conflicting court orders on Friday, mifepristone, a widely used medication abortion drug, is at risk. (Photo: Allen Breed/AP)

On Monday, the Justice Department and a company that makes medication abortion drugs asked a federal appeals court to stop a judge’s decision that could make the medication abortion drug unavailable everywhere in the country after Friday.

Justice Department and Manufacturer Fight to Keep Medication Abortion Drug Available Despite Judge’s Order

The DOJ “strongly disagrees” with the FDA’s withdrawal of mifepristone, a prescription abortion medicine. (Photo: LUKE SHARRETT via Getty Images)

KacsMaryk Ordered Drug Approval Suspension

The requests, which were sent to the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, ask for both a short-term administrative stay and a long-term administrative stay pending an appeal of a lower court ruling by US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who ordered the Food and Drug Administration to stop approving the medication abortion drug. On Monday, the court said that the case’s claimants must answer by Tuesday night before midnight.

An official stay would give the court of appeals more time to think about whether Kacsmaryk’s decision should be put on hold while the case is being heard. Both the Justice Department and Danco, the company that made the medication abortion drug mifepristone and stepped in to support the FDA’s decision in 2000, had already filed notices of appeal. Kacsmaryk said that his order from Friday night would not take effect for seven days so that the Justice Department could have time to appeal.

The Justice Department wants the 5th Circuit to decide its emergency request by Thursday at noon so the government can appeal to the Supreme Court. Kacsmaryk’s decision would violate the FDA’s scientific judgment and harm women, especially those who need mifepristone. Since mifepristone is permitted nationwide, the DOJ document indicated this harm will be seen nationwide. The order would harm healthcare systems, organizations, and providers. Plaintiffs don’t prove they would be damaged, let alone in a way that can’t be repaired, if the status quo remains.

READ ALSO: U.S. President Joe Biden Petitioned to Ignore the Ruling on the Suspension of Mifepristone as a Legal Abortion Pill

FDA to Maintain the Medication Abortion Drug’s Availability

Kacsmaryk’s order in a case made by anti-abortion rights activists in Texas seems to go against what a different federal court ruled in a different case on the other side of the country less than an hour after Kacsmaryk’s order. This second judgment declared that the FDA had to keep the availability of medication abortion drug on the market in the District of Columbia and in1 7 Democratic-led states. The Justice Department hasn’t decided whether to fight Rice’s ruling.

In a filing on Monday, the Justice Department requested Rice to clarify how FDA should implement his order if the ruling of Kacsmaryk is permitted to go into effect. The filing noted “significant tension” between the two decisions. Mifepristone is a medication abortion drug that ends pregnancy. Most US abortions use pills or medication abortion drug.

In its most recent filing with the 5th Circuit, the Justice Department stated that the district court had overturned the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, denying patients access to this effective and safe treatment based on the court’s misguided assessment of the medication’s safety. The DOJ wrote that the district court took this unusual step even though plaintiffs didn’t ask for help for a long time after mifepristone was approved, waited almost a year after the most recent FDA actions they want to challenge, and then asked the court to delay any help until the case was resolved. The Justice Department called Kacsmaryk’s ruling “unprecedented and extraordinary.”

READ ALSO: Former Judge Prevented Teen From Having Abortion is Appointed to New Appeals District by Governor DeSantis

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