Conservative 5th Circuit Court Ruling to Restrict Abortion Pill Access

But it’ll still be on the market

Mifepristone (Photo by Getty Images)

Wednesday, the conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said it will restrict access to mifepristone, one of two pills involved in a medication abortion, but not pull it from the market outright.

The ruling reverses Amarillo U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s April attempt to suspend the federal government’s 2000 approval of the drug, but does add some restrictions to accessing it. However, the new ruling is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, and it will have no immediate impact on the availability of the drug.

Today’s ruling finds the Food and Drug Administration didn’t follow correct procedure in loosening restrictions on the drug in 2016. Specifically, they ruled that the FDA’s allowing it to be taken later in pregnancy, mailed directly to patients, and prescribed by a medical professional other than a doctor were unlawful.

The lawsuit that tried to reverse the drug’s approval was filed last November by anti-abortion doctors in Kacsmaryk’s court to guarantee it would be heard by a conservative appointee of former President Donald Trump. The Supreme Court had already issued an emergency stay after the April ruling ensuring mifepristone stayed available in the 37 states that legally allow medication abortion, and that will stay in place for now. All three judges on the panel that issued today’s ruling are anti-abortion conservatives.

Click here for the Chronicle‘s guide to abortion resources.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Please enable JavaScript to view comments.