A federal judge is poised to restrict mifepristone – even though the drug has been safely and effectively used in the US for more than 20 years
Thu 16 Mar 2023
This week a Republican-appointed federal judge weighed whether to grant an injunction that could remove mifepristone, the drug used in most American abortions, from the market nationwide. And the hearing almost happened in secret.
US district court judge Matthew Kacsmaryk had initially planned to keep Wednesday’s hearing in the case – in which a group of rightwing anti-abortion groups are suing the FDA to reverse its 20-year-old approval of mifepristone – quiet. In a conference call with lawyers for the anti-choice groups and the Department of Justice, Kacsmaryk asked attorneys not to disclose the existence of the hearing (“This is not a gag order,” he said repeatedly), and said that the event would only be made public late on Tuesday to minimize popular awareness. “It may even be after business hours.” The judge’s courtroom in Amarillo, Texas, is hours away from any major city. It was only because of a press leak that the hearing was known to the public at all.