Listen Live

A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily blocked a decision by a Texas judge that would have suspended U.S. government approval of a key abortion medication, The Washington Post reported.

>> Read more trending news

The appeals court ruled that the drug mifepristone would be available for now, but declined to pause another part of the Texas ruling that said the Food and Drug Administration in 2016 wrongly expanded access to the abortion drug.

The ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came just before midnight Wednesday. The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel allows for mifepristone to continue to be available in the U.S., but with several strict limitations.

Mifepristone rulings: What to know about opposing rulings on abortion pill

Mifepristone, along with a second drug, is used in more than half of the abortions performed in the United States.

On Thursday, the Justice Department said they would challenge the appeals court ruling.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA to deny in part our request for a stay pending appeal. We will be seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court to defend the FDA’s scientific judgment and protect Americans’ access to safe and effective reproductive care.”

The ruling on the appeal comes nearly a week after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that the Food and Drug Administration did not follow proper procedure when it approved mifepristone in 2020 and that the drug should no longer be available for abortions because of changes made to its use in 2016.

The case noted some of the changes made to the use of the drug included a reduction in the number of in-person visits patients are required to make to their doctors and allowing the pills to be prescribed to women at up to 10 weeks gestation instead of up to seven weeks.

On the same day that the Texas ruling came out, a federal judge in Washington issued a contradictory ruling that bars the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of mifepristone.”

That ruling applies only to the 17 states and the District of Columbia — the jurisdictions that filed a lawsuit in February challenging the FDA’s regulations over the drug.

The Justice Department appealed the decision of the Texas judge, saying that those who filed the suit had no standing in the case because they were not personally harmed by the medication.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, an antiabortion group at the center of the fight over the abortion pill, told a U.S. appeals court that the court does not have jurisdiction to block Friday’s ruling which suspended the FDA’s approval of the drug.