The US Justice Department asked an appeals court on Monday to freeze a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that would ban a widely used abortion pill.
“The district court’s extraordinary and unprecedented order should be stayed pending appeal,” the department said in a court filing.
Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former president Donald Trump, on Friday overturned the Food and Drug Administration’s two-decade-old approval of mifepristone, which is used for more than half the abortions annually in the United States.
“If allowed to take effect, the court’s order would thwart FDA’s scientific judgment and severely harm women,” the Justice Department filing said.
“This harm would be felt throughout the country, given that mifepristone has lawful uses in every State,” it said.
The Justice Department asked the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to stay the district judge’s order pending a full appeal in a case that is likely to eventually reach the Supreme Court.