SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A federal court of appeals has made a ruling on a potential ban of abortion medication. The court granted the Justice Department’s emergency request to put a hold on part of last week’s ruling by a Texas federal judge that the FDA suspend its approval of the drug mifepristone.
The decision of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk triggered quick action from the Justice Department, which quickly appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court to block the move. The appeals court agreed, but only partially.
The three-judge panel said the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug, which is used in most medication abortions, should stand. However, the court sided with with Kacsmaryk in a portion of their decision, which undoes changes the FDA made in 2016 and 2021.
In 2016, the FDA lowered the number of in-person visits required to be prescribed the drug, and allowed it to be prescribed for up to 10 weeks- extending from seven. In 2021, the FDA allowed the pills to be distributed by mail. All of those changes no longer apply- for now.
The appeals court was split in its decision 2-1. Two judges appointed by former President Donald Trump in the majority. The dissenter, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, would have blocked Kacsmaryk’s ruling in full.
“One of the main benefits of the drug is that it can be sent through the mail and people need it in the home and with a doctor’s supervision, take the medication and have a safe abortion at home,” Deb Pastrich-Klemer in Northampton.
Following this court’s decision, Myrna Maloney Flynn President, of Massachusetts Citizens for Life with Mass Citizens for Life said there is still work that needs to be done.”Mifepristone was designed to accomplish one thing. Its sole purpose is to end the life of an unborn human being.”
Last week Governor Maura Healey ordered UMass Amherst to purchase 15,000 doses of the pill.