Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called for the Biden administration to ignore a Texas judge who on Friday issued an injunction against the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.
Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk on Friday directed the FDA to halt the approval of mifepristone while a lawsuit challenging its safety and approval works its way through court. Kacsmaryk stayed the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug, but gave the federal government seven days to “seek emergency relief from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.”
The Biden administration has announced it will appeal Kacsmaryk’s decision.
Democrats are furious with the ruling, and at least two lawmakers including Ocasio-Cortez have urged President Biden against enforcing the injunction as the lawsuit proceeds in court.
“I believe that the Biden administration should ignore this ruling,” AOC declared on CNN. She said “deeply partisan” judges have “engaged in unprecedented and dramatic erosion of the legitimacy of the courts,” calling the abortion pill ruling “unfounded.”
“The interesting thing when it comes to a ruling is that it relies on enforcement,” she elaborated. “And it is up to the Biden administration to enforce, to choose whether or not to enforce a ruling.”
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon issued a similar statement after the ruling came down.
“There is no way this decision has a basis in law. It is instead rooted in conservatives’ dangerous and undemocratic takeover of our country’s institutions,” Wyden said. “No matter what happens in seven days, I believe the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to ignore this ruling, which is why I’m again calling on President Biden and the FDA to do just that.”
He suggests that the FDA, doctors and pharmacies “go about their jobs like nothing has changed and keep mifepristone accessible to women across America.”
Doctors and pharmacies currently prescribing and dispensing mifepristone must get a special certification to do so.
The FDA places special restrictions on mifepristone under a safety program that’s intended to minimize the risk of drugs that could be dangerous, but has relaxed restrictions on the drug several times.
In January, the FDA allowed certified retail pharmacies to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone.
President Biden slammed Kacsmaryk’s decision, saying that the court “has substituted its judgment for FDA, the expert agency that approves drugs.”
“If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks,” Biden warned in a statement.
“The prescription medication in question in this case is used for medication abortion, and medication abortion accounts for over half the abortions in America. The lawsuit, and this ruling, is another unprecedented step in taking away basic freedoms from women and putting their health at risk,” he continued.
“This does not just affect women in Texas – if it stands, it would prevent women in every state from accessing the medication, regardless of whether abortion is legal in a state,” Biden said. “It is the next big step toward the national ban on abortion that Republican elected officials have vowed to make law in America.”