US appeals court reinstates abortion pill


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As of: 04/13/2023 6:45 p.m

Just last week, approval for the abortion pill mifepristone was suspended in the United States. Now an appeals court has approved the abortion pill again – albeit with significant restrictions.

The legal wrangling over the approval of the abortion drug mifepristone is entering the next round in the USA: an appeals court has decided that the abortion pill may continue to be used for the time being – albeit with considerable restrictions. The judgment of a judge in the US state of Texas has thus been partially blocked. He had suspended the approval of the drug.

According to the new decision, however, mifepristone can no longer be sent by post. She also only allows the pill up to the seventh week of pregnancy – previously the drug was allowed up to the tenth week.

Error in admission 23 years ago?

The lawsuit concerned the legitimacy of a far-reaching ruling by a judge in Amarillo, Texas last Friday that should have suspended the approval of mifepristone altogether. According to Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the FDA made mistakes in approving the drug 23 years ago.

The New Orleans Court of Appeals ruled against Kacsmaryk. The lawsuit by opponents of abortion against the approval came too late. However, in its 42-page ruling, the court upheld certain aspects of the Texas judge’s decision. According to this, several simplifications introduced in recent years in the distribution of mifepristone in pharmacies and by post are to be suspended.

The new ruling is a very small victory for abortion rights advocates, as the ruling severely restricts access to mifepristone.

Department of Justice “disagree” with decision

The US government had taken action against the original decision of the Texas judge. It also wants to challenge the new verdict and have the proceedings suspended. One is “not at all in agreement” with that, said the Ministry of Justice with a view to the decision. An urgent petition will be filed with the US Supreme Court to protect people’s access to “safe and effective” medicines.

Abortion advocates are concerned about a possible Supreme Court ruling on the abortion pill. Last year, the right-wing majority in the court overturned the country’s abortion rights, which had been in effect for almost 50 years. According to surveys, a majority of the population supports this right.

More than 5.6 million women have used the pill

Mifepristone is one of two drugs commonly used together for medical termination of pregnancy in the United States. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, more than 5.6 million women have used the pill since it was approved in 2000. In less than 1,500 cases there were complications without a connection to mifepristone being able to be established.

The New Orleans verdict is provisional. A final decision on the approval of mifepristone rests with the US Supreme Court.

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