USA: Kulturkampf about abortions escalated – Politics

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that the state has created an emergency stockpile of two million abortion pills. Similar reports were heard from Massachusetts and Washington over the weekend. The reason for this is a judgment by a judge in Texas who ruled on Friday that the 23-year-old approval of the drug mifepristone by the competent authority was not legal. Opponents of abortion had complained to the court in Amarillo because the judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump and is considered to be particularly conservative, sits there.

If the verdict is upheld, the sale of mifepristone could be illegal by the end of the week. However, the Justice Department appealed the Texas verdict on Monday, leaving the case before an appeals court. In addition, a judge in Washington ruled the other way around in a similar case on Friday. He had decided that mifepristone must remain available in 17 states.

In 2000, after lengthy testing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to approve mifepristone for the US market. Since then, the pill has been taken millions of times. More than half of all abortions in the US are performed using a combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol.

Lawyer says FDA has ‘put women at risk’

Mifepristone blocks the pregnancy hormone progesterone, misoprostol actually ends the pregnancy. It is therefore also possible to have an abortion without mifepristone. However, the process is then accompanied by stronger side effects, leading to stronger cramps and bleeding.

In justifying his surprise decision to overturn the drug’s approval after 23 years, the judge said the FDA had acted outside of its jurisdiction at the time. This is an astonishing statement in that the FDA is precisely responsible for testing and approving drugs. The admission was granted on the basis of unfounded arguments. The risks associated with taking the medication were ignored. A lawyer representing several anti-abortion groups said Monday, “By illegally approving dangerous chemical abortion drugs, the FDA has put women at risk and should be held accountable for that.”

The case will end up before the New Orleans Court of Appeals, which is considered to be rather conservative. That doesn’t mean it upholds the Amarillo judge’s decision, however, because his decision would have far-reaching consequences. “If this decision stands, there will be virtually no approved drug that is safe from such political, ideological attacks,” said US President Joe Biden in a statement.

In the long term, it is expected that the case will make its way to the Supreme Court, especially since the ruling from the state of Washington is a contrary verdict. Georgetown University’s Lawrence Gostin said, “This is a frontal attack on the legitimacy of the FDA.” The judgment calls into question the sovereignty of the authority in the approval process for medicinal products.

A spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Human Coalition said: “We absolutely hope that the Supreme Court will settle this issue once and for all. It has been going on for decades now.” This probably expresses the hope that the extremely conservative Supreme Court will again decide in favor of the opponents of abortion. In a sensational decision last year, the court overturned a law that had guaranteed women in the United States the right to an abortion since 1973. It is currently up to the states to decide.

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