April 10, 2023
The Central Conference of American Rabbis deplores Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk’s ruling to invalidate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone twenty-three years ago. Since 2000, millions of Americans have relied upon mifepristone as part of a safe regimen to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone is essential to reproductive justice in America. This crucial drug is currently the choice of more than half of Americans who seek abortion care.
Reform rabbis applaud Judge Thomas O. Rice’s nearly simultaneous ruling, which contradicts Judge Kacsmaryk’s opinion. Judge Rice’s decision prohibits the F.D.A. from “any action to remove mifepristone from the market or otherwise cause the drug to become less available” in the eighteen states whose attorneys general joined the case before him.
We learn in Torah, “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). Our commentators explain that the repetition of the word “justice” teaches us that the establishment of a just society requires not only just rulings, but a just judicial process. Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling is an unjust result grounded in an unjust process. The judge’s bias is evident in the use of ideological rather than clinical language of his ruling, such as his reference to embryos and fetuses as “unborn children.” Congress has granted the FDA the authority to assess a medication’s safety and efficacy. More than 100 scientific studies have found mifepristone to be safe. Judge Kacsmaryk usurps both legislative and executive branch authority by substituting his personal judgment for that of the F.D.A. and scientists.
The CCAR is grateful that President Biden, Attorney General Garland, and the F.D.A. have vowed to appeal Judge Kacsmaryk’s appalling and non-scientific ruling. We pray that their appeals will meet with success, and commit to continuing to work for reproductive justice.
Rabbi Erica Asch
Rabi Hara E. Person
Central Conference of American Rabbis