DENVER (KDVR) — Two rival rulings are now dividing the country.
On Friday, a Texas federal judge ruled to suspend Mifepristone, an FDA-approved abortion pill. This comes at the same time a judge in the state of Washington ruled to protect access to the pill in 17 states including Colorado.
Political science professor with the University of Denver Joshua Wilson, who also specialized in abortion law, said Mifepristone is one of the most commonly used methods of abortion in the country.
“We have a split in the country of with one federal judge saying the drug is essentially off limits and the other judge saying that no, access is still available,” Wilson said.
Colorado is currently not affected because the state is part of the ruling in Washington that protects access to the pill.
“Right now, Colorado is in this protected space, but if the litigates who challenged the FDA around this drug prevail at the Supreme Court level, then that really significantly affects abortion access even in the states that have protected abortion access,” Wilson said.
Wilson said there’s still lots of uncertainty, but it’s likely the Supreme Court will step in.
“This can continue in separate federal courts that then come together in Supreme Court and that’s why it’s thought this can go to the Supreme Court relatively quickly because of the significance of it,” Wilson said. “The Supreme Court also tends to take cases when there’s a split between cases which is what we have perfectly set up here.”
But this goes beyond abortion politics, Wilson it’s also about the ability to challenge the FDA’s power and process in approving drugs.
“There’s a larger effect here about what does this say about the ability to challenge experts and administrative agencies and administrative agencies’ choices and that could stand to have effects far beyond the abortion arena,” Wilson said.
The Texas judge postponed the suspension of the drug for a week to give the government the chance to appeal the ruling.
The Biden administration already released a statement that said they will help fight the Texas ruling.