A Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas has ordered a hold on the longstanding approval of a widely used abortion drug, mifepristone.
But an hour later an Obama-picked judge in Washington state issued a competing ruling, ordering that access to the drug be preserved in 17 states. The pill has been allowed for over 20 years, and is used in most abortions. The duelling court orders make it likely that the issue will escalate to the US Supreme Court.
In a 67-page opinion, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, halted the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. The ruling will not go into effect for seven days to allow the government time to appeal.
The US Department of Justice confirmed on Friday night it would challenge the Texas ruling.