Late this afternoon, a Texas judge issued a legally and factually indefensible ruling that seeks to block the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone from more than two decades ago. The medication is widely used to terminate early pregnancies and manage miscarriage.  The court allowed a seven day period to allow the FDA to seek an appeal from higher courts.  The following can be attributed to Colleen K. Connell, Executive Director at the ACLU of Illinois:

Today’s decision on mifepristone is legally unprecedented and intolerably cruel, substituting misogynistic politics and ideology for fact-based medicine and health care. For the first time, a federal court – at the prodding of extreme, anti-abortion groups – has acted to limit access to a drug that has been safely and widely used since its approval more than two decades ago.

There is no evidence that mifepristone needs further safety reviews. Mifepristone is safe, with a safety record that exceeds widely used over-the-counter medications like Tylenol. Because of its efficacy and safety, mifepristone has been used to end early pregnancies and manage miscarriage for millions over many years. Without access to medication abortions, millions will no longer have access to abortion care. This burden will fall hardest on women of color and low-income people facing pregnancy.   

Today’s decision is about raw politics. Anti-abortion extremists have always envisioned banning abortion in all 50 states, including here in Illinois. No one should be confused about this goal – and the lengths to which these forces will go to reach their goal – a goal opposed by a wide majority of Americans. They will not rest until they can force every pregnancy to term, regardless of the harm to pregnant people. This political agenda is cruel and must be appealed.

No one should be confused – abortion remains legal and available in Illinois, including for those using mifepristone; the Texas judge stayed his decision for 7 days. The matter is further complicated by a decision from a federal judge in Washington State that bars the FDA from making any changes to the approval of the medication. We will continue to monitor the situation to determine the impact of these conflicting decisions on the availability of mifepristone in Illinois.