White House on mifepristone lawsuit: Decisions on medication should be made by FDA, not courts

Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

The White House on Thursday said that decisions over the safety of medications should be made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not by the courts, as a Texas judge considers whether legal access to the abortion pill mifepristone should end.

The lawsuit being considered by District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk challenges the approval of mifepristone, which blocks hormones necessary for pregnancy and is used to induce an abortion up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. It has been approved by the FDA since 2000.

“This is about FDA’s authority to make a independent, evidence-based decision on drugs,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said about the lawsuit. “Decisions on what medication can be used in our country should not be determined in a court, they should be determined based on their safety, science, and the data.”

She stressed that the Biden administration thinks Mifepristone is safe, adding that it would be “an unprecedented decision” for the judge to revoke the drug’s approval.

“This is something that the FDA should decide on what’s safe and what could be beneficial to women’s health,” Jean-Pierre said.

The lawsuit was filed in November by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal group that has helped author states’ anti-abortion laws and defended Mississippi in the case that led the Supreme Court to overturn the abortion protections granted in Roe v. Wade.

Mifepristone is one of two abortion pills nationwide and it has been used by over 3 million women in the U.S. since it was approved by the FDA. The FDA has argued that challenging its approval has no merit and that the public interest would be dramatically harmed by withdrawing it from the marketplace.

Jean-Pierre also on Thursday said it would be “devastating” to women to prevent access to the drug, particularly those in the Black and brown communities and in states where access to abortion procedures is restricted in the wake of the decision to overturn Roe.

Vice President Harris on Thursday also warned against using the court to make medical decisions, while in Iowa for a roundtable on reproductive rights.

“The fundamental issue at play with that court case is our public health system as a whole. If politicians start using the court to undo doctor’s decisions imagine where that can lead,” Harris said.

Tags Kamala Harris Karine Jean-Pierre Karine Jean-Pierre mifepristone

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