TEXAS, USA — A hearing is scheduled this week on a Texas lawsuit that could ban abortion pills, even in states where the procedure is legal.
The lawsuit is challenging the Federal Drug and Administration's approval of abortion pills. If granted, some advocates for reproductive rights said this could be more devastating than the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. According to the Texas Tribune, the Amarillo judge who scheduled the hearing took unusual steps to keep it from being publicized to try and minimize disruptions and possible protests.
Medicated abortion is a two-pill process that was approved by the FDA 22 years ago. It involves Mifepristone and Misoprostol, which induce an abortion.
Anti-abortion advocates are trying to reverse the FDA ruling, calling the drugs harmful. They said the FDA never had the authority to approve the drugs in the first place.
Abortion doctors stand on the other side of the argument. They said the drugs have been used millions of times and are extremely safe. However, that's now up to a conservative-leaning federal judge to decide.
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction on the drug, which would ban its use not just in Texas, but across the country.
The FDA can appeal the injunction, but if that happens, it could take months, or even years, for the decision to be reversed.
“That decision is going to go to one of the nation's more conservative intermediate appellate courts, the fifth circuit court of appeals, and then it could go to the Supreme Court," University of Houston law professor Seth Chandler said. "The Supreme Court would have discretion whether to take it, and all of that takes time.”
The hearing on Wednesday will be an opportunity for lawyers for the Justice Department, the company that makes the drug and the conservative group that is challenging it to argue their positions, according to the Texas Tribune. After they do, the judge could rule at any time.