WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden pledged to defend access to medication abortion and the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to approve pharmaceuticals after a federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the abortion pill should be pulled from the market.
Biden also keyed in on the 2024 elections in his response, saying “the only way to stop those who are committed to taking away women’s rights and freedoms in every state is to elect a Congress who will pass a law restoring Roe versus Wade.”
Biden’s statement late Friday came just hours after U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Judge Matthew Joseph Kacsmaryk released his ruling in a closely watched case on access to mifepristone.
Kacsmaryk gave the federal government seven days to appeal his ruling before it would take effect. The U.S. Justice Department did just that Friday night and asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the order from taking effect.
Kacsmaryk was not the only federal judge to issue a ruling on access to mifepristone Friday.
Judge Thomas Rice, from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, issued a ruling much the opposite of Kacsmaryk’s opinion.
Rice’s order would protect access to mifepristone in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
The two opposing opinions from two U.S. District Court judges increase the likelihood access to medication abortion will soon wind up before the same Supreme Court that overturned the constitutional right to an abortion last summer.
Biden said in his statement the Texas judge’s ruling on an FDA-approved pharmaceutical could affect much more than access to mifepristone.
“Today a single federal district judge in Texas ruled that a prescription medication that has been available for more than 22 years, approved by the FDA and used safely and effectively by millions of women here and around the world, should no longer be approved in the United States,” Biden said.
“The Court in this case has substituted its judgment for FDA, the expert agency that approves drugs,” he added. “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 pledged that his administration would fight the ruling, noting the Justice Department had already filed its appeal in the case.
“Vice President Harris and I will continue to lead the fight to protect a woman’s right to an abortion, and to make her own decisions about her own health,” Biden said. “That is our commitment.”