Anti-abortion judge attempts to ban mifepristone, denying science and jeopardizing reproductive rights

Samantha Sollitto

A federal judge from Texas ruled the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of mifepristone invalid on April 7. Shortly afterward, a conflicting ruling in favor of the pill was made in a federal court in Washington state, placing the decision in the hands of the Supreme Court. 

But leaving the fate of mifepristone’s accessibility up to the high court is probably more dangerous to the well-being of women across America than the pill itself.

Most recently, the justices chose in favor of the pill by granting emergency requests from the Biden Administration and Danco Laboratories, producer of mifepristone.

This move will leave access to the drug untouched for at least into next year. The next stop for the case is the Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which has set arguments for May 17. 

After the 5th Circuit states its decision, there is a chance that the losing side will appeal, sending the case back in front of the justices. From then on, the future of mifepristone seems less optimistic. 

The Supreme Court voted against abortion once. Almost a year ago, five Supreme Court justices overturned Roe v. Wade, taking away the constitutional right to receive an abortion and putting the fate of women’s bodies in the hands of the state governments. 

Soon after, multiple states began banning and restricting abortions, with some states offering no exceptions for rape or incest. 

It would be no surprise if justices decided to shift their stance on mifepristone and ban the drug completely, restricting abortion even further for women in the U.S. 

Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s preliminary injunction against mifepristone comes shortly after Walgreens’ decision to not distribute the pill in states where abortion remains legal. 

Kacsmaryk invoked plenty of anti-abortion rhetoric in his argument against the medication, including describing the “intense psychological trauma” of people who use the pills and then seeing “the remains of their aborted children.”

These hurtful remarks, aside from having no scientific basis, only serve to uphold falsehoods commonly spread by anti-abortion activists and to instill fear among women.

In reality, mifepristone is one of the more common and safer ways to terminate a pregnancy. 

The pill is taken alongside misoprostol, which is used to induce contractions. Mifepristone stops the pregnancy by blocking progesterone, a hormone needed to help the fetus grow, while misoprostol causes bleeding and cramps, allowing for the passage of pregnancy tissue. 

The use of the pill is less invasive and offers a greater sense of privacy to a woman taking it than a surgical abortion.    

Yet none of these real facts affected Kacsmaryk’s decisions, nor will they inform the misguided efforts of anti-abortionists currently pushing a lawsuit in hopes of permanently banning the pill.  

The anti-abortion extremists behind the ongoing lawsuit expressed concerns that the FDA chose “politics over science” by fast-tracking approval of the drug more than 20 years ago.

But if anyone is choosing politics over science, it is the anti-abortionists who believe that imposing their beliefs on all women in the U.S. is safer than allowing women to decide what to do with their bodies. 

However, anti-abortionist extremists such as Alliance and pro-life groups have continuously ignored the scientific facts surrounding the safety of mifepristone along with other crucial information that bolsters pro-choice values.  

The FDA conducted trials upon trials of comprehensive research to ensure that the drug was safe for use prior to its approval. The FDA also conducts periodic reviews of the drug and its approved generic, with no new safety concerns arising in the last several trial periods.  

As of today, the pill currently accounts for more than half of all abortions done in the U.S. since 2020

Mifepristone is not only used to end unwanted pregnancies but also for women who suffer from miscarriages that would prove to be detrimental to the mother or the baby. 

Banning the pill would only cause women to seek out other means of stopping their pregnancy with harmful consequences or to go through with a pregnancy that could potentially harm their lives. 

The accusation of “politics over science” suits the anti-abortionist rhetoric much more than the FDA’s, with many of them wielding their personal ideologies and beliefs disguised as “facts” to try to prove that abortions are “dangerous.” 

Anti-abortionists have used the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade to completely shift the abortion narrative in the U.S. for far too long. 

In a country where abortions were once legal, women are no longer allowed to decide what to do with their own bodies. Now, even a basic abortion pill has become the subject of an unending tug-of-war between anti-abortionists, the government and pro-choice citizens. 

Being pro-choice means to support women’s bodily autonomy. Being pro-choice simply means to support women.