CBS19: Democratic members of Congress file brief in support of DOJ appeal of mifepristone ruling


Nearly 240 members of Congress, including some representing Virginia, are calling on an appeals court to prevent a ruling regarding a medical abortion pill.

On April 7, federal district court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas issued a ruling suspending the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone.

Mifepristone is one of two medications that can be used to induce an abortion or for the management of a miscarriage.

Approval of this drug in the United States went through in 2000, but it had been approved for use in several European countries around 1990.

On Wednesday, an amicus brief or friend-of-the-court brief was filed urging a higher court to prevent the Texas ruling from going into effect.

According to a release, the brief was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, supporting an appeal filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday.

In the brief, the members of Congress write denying access to mifepristone in every part of the country would jeopardize patients and threaten the FDA’s drug approval process itself, which was designed and mandated by Congress. This in turn could jeopardize access to other medications not associated with abortion.

“The district court appears to have second-guessed FDA’s scientific determinations with cherry-picked anecdotes and studies, and on that basis, imposed a remedy that could significantly upend the status quo,” wrote the lawmakers. “Its perilous consequences reach far beyond mifepristone. Providers and patients rely on the availability of thousands of FDA-approved drugs to treat or manage a range of medical conditions, including asthma, HIV, infertility, heart disease, diabetes, and more.”

Mifepristone is the most commonly used form of abortion care in the United States, taken in conjunction with another medication called misoprostol through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Since it was initially approved in the U.S. in 2000, the drug’s efficacy and safety have been reaffirmed several times.

The DOJ has asked for the appeals court to rule on its stay request by Thursday.

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner as well as Representatives Abigail Spanberger, Donald Beyer, Gerald Connolly, Jennifer McClellan, Robert Scott and Jennifer Wexton all signed onto the brief.

To read the full amicus brief, click here.

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