Could the abortion pill be banned nationwide? His future is being played out on Wednesday before an ultra-conservative magistrate, whom opponents of abortion are asking to suspend his authorization. Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was a lawyer for a Christian organization before being appointed federal judge by former Republican President Donald Trump, will hear the parties' arguments in federal court in Amarillo, Texas. He will then be able to render his decision at any time in this case likely to have an impact as resounding as the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States having dynamited, last June, the right to abortion.
Since then, fifteen conservative states have banned all abortions on their soil, and others like Florida are in the process of severely restricting access to abortions. For the president of the Planned Parenthood family planning organization, Alexis McGill Johnson, "the Amarillo case is a wake-up call for anyone who thought they weren't concerned" because they live in states that protect the right to abortion. The decision of Judge Kacsmaryk could indeed extend to the whole country. “We are clearly very concerned, as the entire medical community should be. This would be a very dangerous first,” Ms Johnson added in a statement.
In November, a coalition of doctors and anti-abortion groups filed a complaint against the United States Drug Administration (FDA), which they accuse of having authorized 23 years ago mifepristone (RU 486), one of the two pills used for medical termination of pregnancy. The plaintiffs accuse the FDA of choosing "politics over science" by approving a chemical that they believe could create complications, and of "exceeding its prerogatives" in the process. Pending the examination of the substantive arguments, they requested that the authorization of mifepristone be suspended throughout the territory.
Strategically, they brought their appeal to Amarillo, a Texas city away from major urban centers, where Matthew Kacsmaryk is the only federal judge. His profile and his claimed opposition to abortion have raised concern in the ranks of defenders of the right to abortion, some of whom will demonstrate in court on Wednesday. "It seems unbelievable that a simple judge in Texas could make a decision that would impact a product that has been approved by health authorities and has been safely marketed for more than twenty years," said Elisa Wells, founder of the information network on Plan C abortion pills, with AFP.
Such a decision would be "devastating for women", had already denounced ten days ago the spokesperson for the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre. Since the year 2000, more than 5.6 million women have used this pill in the United States, and a tiny proportion (less than 1,500) have subsequently had complications without an established link. 'after the FDA. Today, the majority (53%) of pregnancy terminations are medical, a less intrusive and less costly procedure than surgical abortions.
The decision of Judge Kacsmaryk, whatever it is, may be appealed which will be examined by the federal appeals court of New Orleans, also known for its conservatism. The case could again end up before the Supreme Court of the United States which, since its reshuffle by Donald Trump, has six conservative magistrates out of nine.
Even if justice ultimately suspended the FDA's authorization, it would probably take several months before its decision applied. According to experts in health law, the drug regulator must follow a procedure before withdrawing the authorization of a product. Women and doctors could also fall back on a second pill, misoprostol, the use of which is combined today with mifepristone for greater efficiency and less pain. "In any case, I think it will be chaotic when the judge makes his decision," predicts Elisa Wells.