Amarillo hearing on banning abortion pill Mifepristone

Some doctors say this ruling could put even more women’s lives at risk
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:47 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The nation continues to watch West Texas as a federal judge in Amarillo is expected to make a ruling regarding the abortion medication Mifepristone. The first public hearing was held yesterday, March 15. Arguments were made both for and against repealing the FDA’S approval of the drug. This is one of the biggest abortion-related cases since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Amarillo antiabortion advocates filed a lawsuit claiming the FDA wrongly approved the well-known abortion drug 23 years ago. The case is to reverse the FDA approval of the medication, arguing that the drug carries more risk than benefit, but some medical professionals disagree.

Marilyn Mathews a medical Ph.D. student says, “This kind of feels like a football game at this point, and it’s unfortunate that women’s health is the ball.”

Matthews says the drug is safe and effective, and more importantly, needed by women in this country.

“All of the medicine is just weighing out the balances of risks so in terms of this drug, no it doesn’t have any side effects that would be a reason to take it off the market,” said Matthews.

Matthews says the drug has many uses outside of inducing abortions. It can also be used to manage early pregnancy loss, such as non-viable pregnancies and miscarriages.

“There are so many reasons why a woman might need these pills to be able to take something out that’s actually killing the woman,” Matthews said.

Some protestors in front of the Amarillo courthouse on March 15 explained why they believe the drug should be banned.

Board-certified OBGYN Dr. Skop says, “I’ve seen women who’ve bled for six weeks, eight weeks that have gone back to the abortion provider on multiple occasions only to be given another set of pills, not to be offered the surgery that they need.”

If the approval of this drug is reversed, sales could be stopped nationwide including in states where abortion is legal. During the March 15 preliminary injunction hearing, the judge raised one possible scenario where he could keep the drug’s approval intact, and instead block the FDA’S most recent move to make the abortion pill easier to obtain.

Senior advisor at Planned Parenthood Wendy Davis says, “What starts in Texas doesn’t stay in Texas. It often has grave nationwide implications.”

If the judge rules against the FDA, it is expected that attorneys will appeal right away and seek an emergency stay to stop it from taking effect while the case proceeds.