Federal judge in Texas could rule to ban abortion pills nationwide Friday

A federal judge in Amarillo could decide to ban abortion pills nationwide, as soon as Friday. 

The judge, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, could decide Friday to reverse the FDA’s approval of Mifepristone.

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The drug is the first of a two-pill regimen that’s taken orally to induce an abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.  

The ruling could ban the pill altogether or limit its access via telehealth.    

"Approximately half of abortions that take place in the United States today are medical abortions. And this would essentially end, at least temporarily, the use of the principal method by which those medical abortions are carried out," said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University. 

The move comes after anti-abortion activists represented by the group ‘Alliance Defending Freedom’ filed a lawsuit in November, alleging the FDA didn’t conduct enough testing on the drug’s side effects when it was approved more than 20 years ago.   

"I'd say the whole premise of it is weak. This idea of retroactively, after more than 20 years, revoking an FDA drug when you don't have any evidence that it's had significant negative side effects. If this judge does impose a temporary ban, that's going to be appealed by the Biden administration. But that will go to the Fifth Circuit and the Fifth Circuit is arguably the most conservative circuit in the country. They may side with this judge, then it goes to the Supreme Court," Jones said. 

The second abortion pill, Misoprostol, would still be authorized for use in the U.S., although experts say the pill is associated with having more side effects.