A federal judge in Texas has requested a hearing in a case challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion drug mifepristone.
As reported by CatholicVote, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sued the FDA in November 2022 on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the Catholic Medical Association, and others. The suit contends that:
- The FDA’s 2000 approval of the chemical abortion cocktail violated the safety standards of due diligence laid out by Congress.
- The FDA ignored valid evidence and stonewalled ADF’s clients for over 20 years, recklessly terminating “the necessary safeguards for women who undergo this controversial drug regimen.”
- The FDA violated the U.S. Code § 1461 by allowing these drugs to be sent by mail.
According to Planned Parenthood, mifepristone is the first of two medications used in a chemical abortion. It blocks the hormone progesterone from reaching the woman’s uterus, breaking down the lining of the uterine wall and killing the child.
Anonymous and unauthorized sources indicated to Washington Post reporters that U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk met with lawyers in Amarillo, TX, last Friday and scheduled the hearing for Wednesday, March 15. According to The Washington Post:
Kacsmaryk scheduled the hearing during a call with attorneys Friday, said multiple people familiar with the call, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. Kacsmaryk said he would delay putting the hearing on the public docket until late Tuesday to try to minimize disruptions and possible protests, and asked the lawyers on the call not to share information about it before then, the people said.
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When a still-unidentified culprit leaked the text of the Dobbs opinion in May 2022, pro-abortion activists unleashed threats and protests targeting the homes of all six pro-life Supreme Court justices, pregnancy resource centers, and Catholic churches.
Track Record of Violence
The volume of death threats and actual vandalism prompted the Department of Homeland Security to issue a formal memo warning that protests were “likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling.”
One suspect was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and later charged with plotting to assassinate three members of the Supreme Court. Acts of vandalism against Catholic churches intensified following the Dobbs decision. This month, CatholicVote’s violence tracker surpassed 300 attacks since May 2020.
The Washington Post’s anonymous source alleged that “Kacsmaryk told the attorneys that he also wanted to delay publicizing the hearing because courthouse members have received threats in the wake of the lawsuit, according to the people familiar with the call.”
Other anonymous sources told reporters that “the judge and his family have faced security threats since he ascended to the federal bench in 2019, and those threats have intensified ahead of the abortion pill ruling.”
“This is playing with the safety and lives of the judge and everyone involved in the case,” remarked CatholicVote Director of Governmental Affairs Tom McClusky:
Considering the high level of violence and intimidation, tracked by CatholicVote, from pro-abortion zealots ever since the leaked Dobbs decision, Judge Kacsmaryk is wise to take steps to protect all the parties involved in this case.
Bigger than Dobbs?
Leftist activists have characterized the Texas case as “bigger than Dobbs,” claiming it could outlaw the chemical abortion drug mifepristone nationwide.
Erik Baptist, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, told CatholicVote, that he “won’t go so far to make those statements about the ramifications of this case, but we are asking the court to set aside the FDA’s approvals of these dangerous drugs for chemical abortion purposes.”
The case does have far-ranging implications, because ADF is requesting that the court set aside the FDA’s approval of mifepristone and misoprostol for chemical abortion purposes. “At the same time,” said Baptist, “it’s a reasonable [ask], because the FDA, from beginning to end, has failed to follow the plain requirements of the law.”
CatholicVote and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) filed an amicus brief in the ADF vs. FDA case from concerned members of Congress.
“The FDA’s reckless decisions to approve and deregulate chemical abortion drugs put the profits and political agenda of the abortion industry over the law and abundant evidence that abortion drugs present harm to women, girls, and their unborn babies,” the brief stated.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute submitted a brief detailing the lack of medical research and data in the United States surrounding chemical abortion regimens concluding:
The FDA has made an unjustifiable and unreasonable risk-benefit assessment regarding chemical abortion. The end result is over-the-counter abortion provision dissociated from the medical system entirely, except, of course, for the emergency room physicians who will be called upon to care for the myriad complications.
A full list of the court’s amicus briefs can be found on ADF’s website.
Biden Administration Attempts Work- Arounds
The lawsuit followed upon the Biden administration’s aggressive response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The Department of Justice has taken steps to promote chemical abortions even in states like Texas that have robust abortion restrictions.
Attorney General Merrick Garland established a “reproductive rights task force” in July following the Dobbs decision. One of its express purposes is to “monitor and evaluate all state and local legislation and enforcement actions that threaten to… ban mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety.”
Late last year, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) assured the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that federal law does not prohibit sending abortion drugs by mail. The OLC memo states that “federal law does not prohibit the use of” either drug, which are both FDA approved for no other purpose than to kill and expel an unborn child from a mother.
The use of mail services to send abortion pills directly to women and the sale of mifepristone at the retail level without medical oversight are a sharp departure from past norms. While abortion promoters, including officials within the Biden administration, have endeavored to present the controversial move as safe and routine, the maneuver has been bumpy.
As CatholicVote reported in early February, even the Food and Drug Administration warned of safety concerns over mifepristone as recently as last year:
The FDA also recently voiced concerns over the safety of abortion-by-mail for mothers as demand for chemical abortion pills surged following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
LifeNews Note: Erika Ahern writes for CatholicVote.