Illinois officials outraged at competing rulings putting abortion pill in limbo

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Saturday, April 8, 2023
IL officials outraged at rulings putting abortion pill in limbo
Rulings on medical abortion by judges in Texas and Washington plunged abortion pill mifepristone into legal limbo Friday night, prompting outrage.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Access to the most commonly used method of abortion in the U.S. plunged into uncertainty Friday following conflicting court rulings over the legality of the abortion medication mifepristone that has been widely available for more than 20 years.

For now, the drug the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2000 appeared to remain at least immediately available in wake of two separate rulings that were issued in quick succession by federal judges in Texas and Washington.

READ MORE: Texas judge reverses FDA approval of abortion drug after 23 years

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ordered a hold on federal approval of mifepristone in a decision that overruled decades of scientific approval. But that decision came at nearly same time that U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice, an Obama appointee, essentially ordered the opposite and directed U.S. authorities not to make any changes that would restrict access to the drug in at least 17 states where Democrats sued in an effort to protect availability.

Governor JB Pritzker blasted the Texas ruling, calling it a "dangerous decision."

In a statement released Friday night he said in part, "Let me be clear: thanks to the Washington decision, nothing has changed in Illinois... Despite these attacks, reproductive rights are enshrined in Illinois law and will stay that way."

"This ruling is a clear and concerted effort by anti-abortion, far-right activists and politicians to dismantle sexual and reproductive health care nationwide. We will not let them win," the statement continued.

The ACLU of Illinois also responded with outrage.

"It is not a decision that is grounded in any sort of public health concern. It involves a medication that has been safely used for over two decades," said Ameri Klafeta, ACLU of Illinois. "It is very safe. It is safer than Tylenol."

ABC7 did reach out to the anti-abortion advocate group Illinois Right to Life for a comment, and have yet to hear back.

A protest against the Texas judge's ruling is planned for Saturday at Federal Plaza.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.