In an ongoing legal saga, a federal appellate court has upheld significant restrictions on the abortion pill.

On April 7, 2023, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk stayed (stopped) the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval of mifepristone – the first of two drugs used in a chemical abortion.

His order came as a result of a lawsuit filed by lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of four medical groups and four doctors, who alleged that the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone violated the law.

After Judge Kacsmaryk’s order was issued, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) promptly appealed the ruling.

Now, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has partially upheld Judge Kacsmaryk’s order in a 45-page ruling issued late on April 12, 2023.

Unfortunately, the appeals court ruled that at this stage in the litigation, “it appears that the statute of limitations bars plaintiffs’ challenges to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone in 2000.”

This means that FDA’s approval of mifepristone will remain in effect while the litigation plays out. Judge Kacsmaryk had ruled against the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone but delayed the implementation of his order for seven days to permit time for an appeal.

But in better news, the appeals court also upheld several other parts of Judge Kacsmaryk’s order, placing significant restrictions on the abortion pill.

In particular, the Fifth Circuit held that the FDA cannot maintain four of its approved changes that the agency made in 2016 to its original 2000 approval of mifepristone. Those changes include:

  1. Increasing the maximum gestational age at which a woman can use the drug from 49 days to 70 days;
  2. Reducing the number of required in-person office visits from three to one;
  3. Allowing non-doctors to prescribe and administer the chemical abortion drugs;
  4. Eliminating the requirement for prescribers to report non-fatal adverse events from chemical abortion.

Additionally, the appeals court ruled that while the case plays out, “abortionists are no longer allowed to send chemical abortion drugs through the mail,” which the FDA had permitted since 2021.

The three-judge panel was composed of Judge Catharina Haynes, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, and Judges Kurt Engelhardt and Andrew Oldham, both appointed by former President Donald J. Trump.

“The FDA put politics ahead of the health of women and girls when it impermissibly failed to study how dangerous the chemical abortion drug regimen is and when it unlawfully removed every meaningful safeguard that it previously implemented,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erin Hawley in a statement to the Daily Citizen.

“The FDA should have to answer for the damage it has done to the rule of law and the harm it has caused to countless women and girls,” Hawley added.

She continued:

Federal agencies that act lawlessly must be held accountable. The FDA illegally approved dangerous chemical abortion drugs and has evaded its legal responsibility to answer the American people’s questions for two decades. The 5th Circuit’s decision is a significant victory for the doctors we represent, women’s health, and every American who deserves an accountable federal government acting within the bounds of the law.

Unsatisfied with the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on April 13, 2023, that it would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA to deny in part our request for a stay pending appeal,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement.

“We will be seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court to defend the FDA’s scientific judgment and protect Americans’ access to safe and effective reproductive care,” he added.

The Daily Citizen will keep you apprised of important updates in this case.

Some women, after taking the first abortion pill (mifepristone) come to regret their decision. Thankfully, there is a way to reverse the pill’s effects if prompt action is taken.

To learn more about the abortion pill reversal protocol, visit or call 1-877-558-0333 to be connected with a medical professional who can guide callers through the process of reversing the pill’s effects.

Additionally, if you’re struggling and need a listening ear, Focus on the Family offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

The case is Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Related articles and resources:

My Choice Network

Focus on the Family Pro-Life

Pro-Life Victory: Federal Judge Blocks FDA’s Approval of Abortion Pill

Top Five Pro-Life Quotes From Judge’s Ruling Halting FDA’s Approval of Abortion Pill

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