The Fight Over the Abortion Pill Is Just Getting Started

Dueling rulings in Texas and Washington over FDA approval of mifepristone are the most significant turn in the next big reproductive rights battle. 

Mifepristone (Mifeprex) and misoprostol, the two drugs used in a medication abortion.

Photographer: Robyn Beck/Getty Images
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Dueling Friday night rulings over the legality and availability of mifepristone, also known as the abortion pill, are the most significant turn yet in what’s shaping up to be the biggest fight over reproductive rights in the US since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.

US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas temporarily suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s decades-old approval of mifepristone, the only pill specifically approved for abortion in the country. His directive is set to take effect on April 14, but it was followed moments later by a contradictory ruling from a judge in Washington who affirmed FDA approval of mifepristone and blocked the government from further restricting its distribution. The conflicting orders mean an appeals court will have to intervene.