U.S. District Court Judge Heard Arguments Today in Chemical Abortion Pill Case Against FDA

Dear Friends,

Please pray. Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk heard oral arguments TODAY in the high-stakes case in Amarillo that could reverse the FDA’s approval of the chemical abortion pill drug Mifepristone. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the biggest abortion related case since the Dobbs decision last year. 

What is Mifepristone?

Mifepristone is the chemical abortion drug approved by the FDA in 2000 to terminate the life of an unborn baby. In a chemical abortion, Mifepristone blocks the natural hormone progesterone, causing the developing baby to die from lack of vital nutrients. A second drug Misoprostol is then taken to induce powerful uterine contractions to expel the deceased baby from the womb. Since the FDA approval of Mifepristone, chemical abortions, also called medication abortions, have surged and are now the most common method of abortion.

Dangerous complications from chemical abortions occur at a much higher rate than surgical abortions, including incomplete abortion, septic shock, future miscarriage and stillbirth, excessive bleeding, and hemorrhaging and death from undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. 

The Lawsuit | Today’s Hearing

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed the lawsuit last November on behalf of several pro-life groups and physicians alleging the FDA improperly approved the drug two decades ago. ADF asserts the FDA did not adequately study the dangerous safety risks of the drug and, therefore, the drug should be outlawed and pulled from the market nationwide

Today’s hearing was the first in the closely watched case and focused on plaintiff’s request for Judge Kacsmaryk to issue a preliminary injunction ordering the FDA to withdraw or suspend its approval of Mifepristone. Each party had two hours to present their arguments. In an Order filed by the Judge on Monday, he instructed the parties to be prepared today to argue issues including legal standing, whether an injunction would serve the public interest and the FDA’s decision making and elements to assure safety.

The Washington Post moments ago reported that “the antiabortion group challenging the drug acknowledged there is no precedent for a court to order the suspension of a long-approved medication,” but that “U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk seemed open to the argument that mifepristone had not been properly vetted — claims the Food and Drug Administration and leading health organizations strongly contest.”

In a transcript of a Status Conference call that Judge Kacsmaryk had with attorneys in the case last Friday, he asked for the “courtesy” of not publicizing upcoming arguments and that “less advertisement of this hearing is better” due to the death threats, harassing phone calls and protests in connection with the case.

Judge Kacsmaryk could issue his decision on the request for a preliminary injunction any time. In the event Judge Kacsmaryk rules against the government, the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice would likely appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then potentially to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suzanne Everbach
Director of Communication and Philanthropy
Council for Life