Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is considering a ban on abortion pills
A Texas-based federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump quietly and hastily called a hearing Wednesday to decide whether to ban abortion drugs statewide, in a significant move less than a year after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Decline in reproductive rights could result Organization Roe v. Wade fell.
Advocacy groups, led by an organization called the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, filed the lawsuit late last year, challenging the more than two-decade-old Food and Drug Administration approval of mifepristone in 2000. They claim that the FDA’s approval is the result of an accelerated review process and, despite the overwhelming weight of medical opinion on the subject, claim that the drug is unsafe.
The group’s attorney, Erik Baptist, reportedly nodded to the reasons for Dobb’s ruling during a 90-minute hearing Wednesday in Amarillo, Texas.
Taking mifepristone off the market “would restore proper police power to the states,” Baptist argued, according to The Associated Press. However, Baptist reportedly conceded, after asking the judge to do so, that there was no precedent for an order removing drugs that had been approved for decades.
When asked if he could give an example, Baptist reportedly replied, “No, I can’t,” according to the Washington Post.
However, U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk appears open to the idea, the Post added.
The newspaper noted that mifepristone combined with a second pill has become the most common method of abortion in the United States, a trend that has accelerated since the Dobbs ruling.
The Post reported that the hearing ended after four hours with no verdict from the judge.
In a brief from the Court Friend, a dozen medical organizations led by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association called opposition to the lawsuit against the drug “fundamentally ideological, not scientific.”
“They seek to end the practice of medical abortion with mifepristone and encourage the court to overturn the FDA’s expert judgment and revoke a 23-year-old approval,” the medical groups wrote. “Your request is not based on rigorous scientific review and analysis, but rather on speculation and the personal opinions of two doctors.”
The Justice Department also opposed a ban on the drug, citing the “extraordinary delay” in challenging the long-approved drug.
“Plaintiffs advance numerous theories, including novel claims that retrospectively guess the FDA’s safety and efficacy rules, and are seeking an order that would withdraw from the market a drug that has been in widespread use for more than two decades,” wrote the Justice Department, adding that these theories “lack of merit for a myriad of reasons.”
U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, who previously served as deputy general counsel for the conservative Christian First Liberty Institute, gave the public a single day’s notice for the high-profile and fateful hearing, for which the court only provided a live audio stream for those attending federal court in Dallas. The live procedure was scheduled for Amarillo, Texas.
Democratic lawmakers fiercely opposed Kacsmaryk’s nomination to the magistrate because of his anti-LGBT views and opposition to contraception. He has called homosexuality “disorganized” and called transgender identity a “delusion.” He has argued that the Supreme Court should never have ruled that birth control bans are unconstitutional.
The case has been called perhaps the most influential abortion access case since the Supreme Court ruling that returned Roe v. Wade rescinded, but given the national interest and attention, Kacsmaryk has kept proceedings unusually quiet. He held a conference call without public access or notification, the news of which only became public through anonymous reports from the AK Washington post. News organizations and press outlets objected to the unusually secretive nature of the adversarial process.
“The court’s attempt to delay notification and thereby the ability of the public, including the press, to attend Wednesday’s hearing is unconstitutional and undermines the important values served by public access to court proceedings and court records,” Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The Washington Post, NBCUniversal, ProPublica, Texas Press Association, The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, The Markup and Gannett wrote a letter to the judge Monday.
Only after the letter did the judge make the proceedings publicly known. Kacsmaryk announced on the eve of the hearing via a live audio stream — inside the courthouse, not outside — along with a list of restrictions on how it can be used.
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https://lawandcrime.com/abortion/abortion-pill-foes-lawyer-concedes-blocking-fda-approved-drug-years-later-would-be-unprecedented-reports/ Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is considering a ban on abortion pills