Fifth Circuit Judges Declare Themselves Doctors in Indefensible Ruling 

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Zack Ford

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13, 2023 – Overnight, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that stayed, in part, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling blocking the FDA’s two-decades old approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. Astonishingly, the two Trump-appointed judges in the 2–1 majority decided to impose their own restrictions on when and how mifepristone can be prescribed. They blocked distribution of the drug via mail, prescription over telehealth, and prescription after seven weeks of pregnancy when it was previously available through 10 weeks. 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“Despite restoring some access to mifepristone, the Fifth Circuit’s decision demonstrates that they are willing partners in the war against the rule of law. These extremist Trump judges have no legal basis for deciding how actual doctors prescribe this drug. With this ruling, Judges Engelhardt and Oldham are knowingly sowing more nationwide confusion when it comes to how doctors, pharmacists, and patients alike access a drug known to be safer than penicillin, Tylenol, and Viagra. The chaos must stop. In a just world, the Supreme Court would resolve the conflicting rulings between Texas and Washington in favor of patients and restore full nationwide access to mifepristone. They would let the FDA do its job. Alas, we know that there are Trump justices on the high court too and so cannot be optimistic that the rule of law will find favor there either. But we hope.” 

For more on this case, read our recent blog post: How We Got Here: The Kacsmaryk Decision Blocking Mifepristone.