On April 10, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and two dozen other state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit regarding a recent district court order that suspended the federal approval of mifepristone, an abortion pill.
The brief urged the court to stop the order made by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas that would overturn the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-long approval of the pill.
"The court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly," Kacsmaryk said in the ruling, "But here, FDA acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns — in violation of its statutory duty — based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions."
Since the coalition filed the amicus brief, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an order temporarily ensuring that mifepristone remains widely available.
The district court's order will be paused until Wednesday, April 19 at 11:59 p.m. while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to grant the Biden administration’s emergency request to preserve the FDA’s approval.
Stein and over 20 other attorneys general from across the nation filed another brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to maintain approval and access to mifepristone while the Texas case is appealed.
“Abortion is a deeply personal decision and is an issue that people have wide-ranging opinions. But, ultimately, that's a decision that women should have the freedom to make for themselves,” Stein said. “And that's why I'm in court fighting to ensure women can continue to access this medication.”
Mifepristone is the first of two drugs used in a medication abortion — the second being misoprostol. Mifepristone is used to end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks after a person's last menstrual period by blocking the hormone progesterone, breaking down the lining of the uterus so the pregnancy cannot continue.
“It's proven to be safer than Tylenol or Viagra and many other drugs,” Stein said. “Women should have the right to continue to access that medication as they choose what to do with their pregnancy.”