US President Joe Biden strongly condemned a federal judge’s decision to suspend the approval of an abortion pill, calling it an “unprecedented step in taking away basic freedoms from women.” In a statement issued by the White House on Friday, President Biden vowed to fight the ruling, stating that his administration will not back down in protecting reproductive rights.
The ruling, if allowed to stand, would set a dangerous precedent, making all regulated drugs vulnerable to political and ideological attacks, according to President Biden. The decision, made by a judge in Texas who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, overturns the two-decade-old approval of a safe and effective abortion pill by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is widely used to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
In response to the ruling, both the FDA and the Justice Department have filed appeals, with President Biden pledging to challenge the decision. He described the lawsuit and the ruling as an assault on women’s basic freedoms and a threat to their health.
However, in a separate case, a judge in Washington state ruled moments later that access to the abortion pill must be preserved in more than a dozen states, highlighting the deep fracture on the issue of abortion in US society. With dueling legal opinions and appeals, it is likely that the matter will ultimately end up before the Supreme Court, which has a conservative-dominated panel that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling last year, a decision that had protected a woman’s right to abortion for 50 years.
President Biden criticized the Texas judge’s ruling, stating that it is an ideological attack on women’s rights and freedoms, and undermines the FDA’s expert authority in approving drugs. He expressed concern that if this ruling were to stand, it would leave virtually no prescription approved by the FDA safe from similar political and ideological attacks.
Leaders in the medical community also voiced their opposition to the ruling. Jack Resneck, President of the American Medical Association, called it reckless and dangerous to allow judges to interfere in the evidence-based and scientific review of FDA processes.
Planned Parenthood, one of the largest pro-abortion groups in the US, condemned the ruling as an assault on science. The group’s president, Alexis McGill Johnson, expressed outrage that one judge could unilaterally reject medical evidence and overrule the FDA’s approval of a medication that has been safely and effectively used for over two decades.
The ruling was celebrated by anti-abortion groups, with Katie Glenn of Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America hailing it as a win for the health and safety of women and girls. She claimed that the decision reaffirms the view that pregnancy is not an illness and abortion is not healthcare, and that the FDA is being held accountable for violating its own rules.