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How is it that one judge can decide what medication women can take?

Lucy, Judy, Rhonda, and Jane attended a rally/press conference organized by the Office of the Attorney General to push back against the radical Texas decision imperiling access to safe medication abortion nationwide. Attorney General William Tong is part of a multistate coalition challenging the ruling by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas.

The press conference was impressive. We could feel the outrage by our champions, including Attorney General Tong, Governor Lamont, Lieutenant Bysiewicz, Rep. Matt Blumenthal, Nancy Stanwood, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Manisha Juthani, the state’s Public Health Commissioner, and others. They were frustrated that they have to spend time fighting these rulings, but they vowed to continue. Attorney General Tong believes the decision will be overturned. He emphasized that the use of mifepristone is still legal.

Misoprostol is another abortion medication that is not included in this lawsuit, and is still legal, although not as effective as mifepristone.

It was so inspiring to see and hear so many leaders take a strong stand to protect the rights of women. After the press conference, we were able to go up to the Governor, Attorney General Tong, and Rep. Blumenthal and thank them personally for the incredible work they have done pushing back against this ruling by a Texas Judge.

But---Whether this decision is held or overturned, the final outcome is that lawsuits like this create confusion and chaos, thus lowering the trust in the use of the medication, or perhaps giving drug manufacturers pause in continuing to create and market these drugs. If one judge that make this kind of decision, what medication is next?

Read more in the CT Mirror

Read the press release by Attorney General Tong.

The judge's decision was an egregious abuse of judicial power.

How egregious was it?

Just one example: The judge found a blog, run by a group called Abortion Changes You, and he divined from a survey of anonymous blog posts that women have been secretly injured by mifepristone. Really? That is news to the FDA and to the 5 million women who have already safely taken the medication.

Who brings a lawsuit against a drug on the market for 23 years, and how can they claim to be injured by it?

The lawsuit was filed by groups of doctors who oppose abortion. These doctors have never prescribed mifepristone for medical abortions. They incorporated in Amarillo, TX last summer. Hmmmm...maybe that's because they know the only judge in the Amarillo Division is willing to give plaintiffs anything they want.

And here is why they claim they are the injured: There is a risk that some day they will be asked to treat a patient who is experiencing complications from medication abortion even though that has never happened once in the last 23 years, and even though they themselves never prescribe the medication. They suggest that somehow, somewhere, some other doctor will prescribe mifepristone to a woman for a medical abortion, the women will be injured by the medication, somehow the women will find their way to these doctors, and these doctors won’t be able to treat them.


---Analysis by Leah Litman, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School.

You can listen to more: Pod Save America, April 11, 2023.

From Indivisible: Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling has widely been denounced as the work of an anti-abortion activist rather than the unbiased opinion of a federal judge. It’s also important to note that this has never happened before: This ruling is the first time ever that a judge has sought to overrule the decision of the FDA on a safe and effective use of medicine and to remove it from pharmacy shelves.

So here is what we can do, from Indivisible:

1/ Continue to give to partners like the National Network of Abortion Funds who are leading the way on the fight for abortion access across the country. There are incredible organizations doing the deep work of fighting for the future of abortion access nationwide, they need our support. Donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds to help support many of the local organizations across the country doing this work.

Push for more federal judges to be approved. As you can see, the selection of federal judges is impactful. But right now Biden's nominees are stalled, leaving dozens of vacancies that could be filled by a Republican, should one win in 2024.

2/ Call Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and tell them to ditch the “blue slip” and confirm as many of President Biden’s judicial nominees as possible. Biden has been nominating judges at a historic pace (with over 150 nominations already!), but Senate Democrats are still handing significant power to Republicans to block confirmations through an archaic Senate rule called the “blue slip.” Unsurprisingly, Republicans did not follow this rule very strictly when they controlled the Senate under Trump. Democrats cannot continue to follow this rule now, and they have the power to get rid of it immediately. They are allowing Republicans to block confirmations on a purely partisan basis.

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