health care

Editorial: A federal judge bans a safer abortion pill than Tylenol. It’s ridiculous

Editorial: A federal judge bans a safer abortion pill than Tylenol.  It's ridiculous
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In the most far-reaching court decision on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and stripped women of the constitutional right to abortion last year, a Texas federal judge has suspended the approval of the Food and Drug Administration of mifepristone, the first of a two-drug regimen taken in the setting of medical abortion.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk on Friday ordered the preliminary injunction on mifepristone in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by an alliance of anti-abortion groups and doctors claiming the FDA failed to adequately study the drug. drug before its approval in 2000 and that the use of the drugs is dangerous. The second drug, misoprostol, has other uses, including preventing stomach ulcers, and is less regulated. It can be used alone to terminate a pregnancy, although it is slightly less effective.

Fortunately, the decision does not take effect for seven days so that the federal government can file an appeal, which the US Atty. General Merrick Garland said it will be fine. Adding to the uncertainty, a preliminary injunction was issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice in Spokane, Wash., barring the FDA from deletion mifepristone from the market in 17 states and the District of Columbia, in response to a lawsuit arguing that the special rules the FDA imposed on mifepristone are too restrictive and should be removed. It is unclear which injunction will prevail.

Regardless of the outcome, the Texas decision is a travesty that seeks to ban extremely safe medical abortion nationwide, including states that vigorously protect abortion like California, Oregon and New York.

If the judge’s decision goes into effect, it will create chaos in a post-Roe nation that is already a patchwork of states that allow abortion, ban abortion, and have varying restrictions in between. Medical abortion is the most common form of abortion in the first trimester of gestation and a ban on mifepristone will leave clinics across the country scrambling to decide whether to use only the second drug, misoprostol, for abortions.

Reproductive rights advocates and doctors have denounced the decision, which ignores two decades of safe use and oversight by the FDA. “This drug has undergone the most rigorous safety reviews and has been used safely and effectively for more than 20 years,” said Daniel Grossman, faculty member of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Science. of reproduction at UC San Francisco and director of a reproductive health research program there. “We need expanded access to abortion care, not court decisions based on junk science.” According to this research program, medical abortion is safer than Tylenol.

The lawsuit in Texas has always been a ploy to restrict access to abortion by masquerading as a concern about the safety of the drug. Anti-abortion activists found a sympathetic federal judge and got the result they wanted. The decision ignores common sense, sound medical judgment and more than two decades of safe use of the drug around the world.

Although it is among the safest drugs a person can take and has a serious complication rate of about one-third of 1%, Kacsmaryk agreed with plaintiffs that the FDA improperly used a expedited process for drugs for life-threatening and serious illnesses. . He agreed with them that pregnancy is not a disease. In fact, he bought all of their arguments – including that the moribund Comstock Act, the work of a 19th-century anti-vice crusader, covers medicated abortion pills sent through the mail.

Most disturbing was that Kacsmaryk bought into the plantiffs’ questionable horror stories of women allegedly injured after taking the drug. He said the ruling would ensure “that women and girls are protected from unnecessary harm”.

In fact, this decision is more likely to harm pregnant women seeking a safe abortion with pills by leaving them with fewer options..

More than half of people who have abortions now do so with medication, making it the most common abortion procedure in the country and the easiest to access. And that’s why opponents of abortion have focused on banning it using every argument they can imagine: it’s dangerous. The FDA hasn’t studied it enough. It is against the law to send it by post.

None of this is about protecting women or the US Postal Service. It is about depriving pregnant women of the right to health care and the ability to control their own bodies. And he shouldn’t be allowed to stand.

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