(The Hill) – President Biden slammed the ruling by a federal judge in Texas rejecting the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of an abortion pill as a “political, ideological” attack.
Biden said in a statement on Friday that the court has substituted its judgment for that of the FDA, which he called the “expert agency” on approving drugs. He said mifepristone, the pill, has been available for more than 22 years and safely and effectively used by millions of women in the United States and throughout the world.
“If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks,” he said.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ruled that the FDA improperly rushed the approval process for the pill, violating federal standards and allowing an unsafe drug regimen to be on the market.
The pill was approved in 2000 after a four-year approval process and can be used for abortions up to 10 weeks into pregnancy and to manage early miscarriages. A majority of abortions in the U.S. happen by medication instead of a procedure. Mifepristone is one of two drugs used for medication abortions in the country.
Kacsmaryk gave the federal government a week to appeal and seek an emergency stay before his ruling goes into effect. The Biden administration is appealing the decision.
“The lawsuit, and this ruling, is another unprecedented step in taking away basic freedoms from women and putting their health at risk,” Biden said.
He said the ruling, if it stands, would restrict women’s access to abortion nationwide, even in states where the procedure remains legal in the aftermath of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Biden vowed his administration would oppose the ruling, but he added that the only way to ensure abortion rights are protected is to elect members of Congress who support a federal law to reimplement the ruling under Roe.
Vice President Harris told reporters that she and Biden will “stand with the women of America” to make sure they can make their own health care decisions.
“This is a drug that the FDA approved as safe 20 years ago and has been proven to be safe for 20 years, so this is a dangerous precedent,” she said.
Another ruling separately handed down on Friday from U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice, an Obama appointee, in the Eastern District of Washington, bars the FDA from pulling mifepristone from the market, conflicting with the Texas ruling.