President Biden on Tuesday called it “completely out of bounds” for a federal judge in Texas to invalidate the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decades-old approval of the abortion medication mifepristone.
“My thoughts are it’s completely out of bounds what the judge did,” Biden said when asked about last week’s ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.
Mifepristone was first approved by the FDA in 2000 and has been proven safe and effective. It’s one of two medications used to induce a medical abortion in the U.S.
Kacsmaryk ruled Friday in favor of anti-abortion groups, halting the FDA’s approval of the drug.
If the decision is upheld, advocates have warned, it could open the door to any third party challenging any medication or treatment that they disagree with, including vaccines for children, AIDS drugs, birth control or hormone therapy.
A separate federal judge in Washington state ruled minutes after Kacsmaryk that the FDA was blocked from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of Mifepristone” in 17 states and Washington, D.C., which filed a joint lawsuit contending the drug was too tightly regulated.
The White House on Monday said it would follow the law, rebuffing calls from some for the government to ignore the Texas judge’s ruling. But the administration is expected to take the fight over mifepristone to the Supreme Court.
“We stand by the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, and we are prepared for a long, legal fight. That’s what I can say from here,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “That’s what we are committed to do — to doing for the providers who are making sure that this is available to women and also for women out there.”
The Justice Department on Monday asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to pause Kacsmaryk’s ruling until the administration can bring its appeal of the decision in full.
—Updated at 11:13 a.m.