The department wanted records from six Planned Parenthood affiliates as part of the government's defense of a new law barring certain late-term abortions.
But the department is still pursuing abortion records to defend the law against similar lawsuits brought by abortion providers in New York and Lincoln, Neb.
Government lawyers say they were forced to withdraw the subpoenas because of a judge's ruling in San Francisco last week. The judge said the records could not be introduced in a trial of a challenge to the law brought by Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
The lawsuits seek to invalidate a law signed by President Bush last year that bans a procedure referred to by critics as "partial-birth abortion." A Justice Department spokeswoman says the abortion records ate considered central to the claims by the law's challengers that the procedure is medically necessary.