Judge Receives Threats Of Violence In Medication Abortion Case- According to a transcript of a private status conference obtained, a federal judge informed attorneys involved in a significant medication abortion case last week that he did not want to publicly announce plans to hold a hearing in the case due to a “barrage” of death threats and other harassment that have been directed towards his courthouse.
In a teleconference with the attorneys on Friday, US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk stated: “This is not a gag order but simply a plea for politeness given the death threats and abusive phone calls and voicemails that this division has received.”
The judge did not reveal the threat’s origin.
The judge continued, “We want a flowing hearing with all parties being heard. “I believe less publicity for this hearing is better.”
To prevent the Food and Drug Administration from approving a substance used in medication abortion, the plaintiffs, anti-abortion physicians, and medical groups will ask Kacsmaryk to consider a preliminary injunction request at the hearing on Wednesday.
At the Friday teleconference, he announced that he would schedule the hearing on the public docket on Tuesday, the day before the hearing in Amarillo, Texas, on Wednesday morning.
“To eliminate some of the unwarranted death threats and voicemails and harassment that this division has experienced from the outset of the case, we’re going to post that later in the day,” Kacsmaryk added, according to the transcript. So, even if it occurs after business hours, the information will be publicly filed.
“Other aspects of this case have attracted demonstrators, death threats, and the rest. The judge informed the attorneys on the phone, “I don’t want that to interfere with your testimony before the court.
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The Washington Post broke the story of Kacsmaryk’s attempt to prevent the hearing plans from becoming public on Saturday, which sparked a public outrage from media outlets and legal professionals who claimed that the move violated the ideals of judicial transparency. He subsequently added a docket entry for the Friday call and the scheduling order for the hearing to the court’s docket on Monday afternoon.
To ensure that all parties can be heard and to avoid creating an unnecessary circus-like atmosphere in what should be more of an appellate-style proceeding, Kacsmaryk assured the attorneys during the call that the standard courthouse security protocols will be in place for Wednesday’s hearing. However, he requested that the attorneys “not further advertise or Tweet any of the details of this hearing.”
Federal judge says the court handling a major medication abortion case has received a "barrage" of death threats https://t.co/D4jgbZB2PW
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 14, 2023
The case involves a challenge to the federal government’s authorization of a medication used to end pregnancies in 2000 launched by anti-abortion physicians and medical organizations. The most popular form of abortion in the US is a medication abortion.
Even in places where medication abortion is permitted, obtaining the pills might become more challenging if the judge granted the motion to ban access to the medication globally.