The Biden administration is signaling that it is open to ignoring a Texas judge’s ruling to halt the approval of the abortion-on-demand pill mifepristone.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortex on Friday had argued on CNN that the Biden administration should merely ignore the Texas judge’s ruling against the abortion pill.
"I believe that the Biden administration should ignore this ruling": Rep. @AOC reacts to Texas judge's abortion pill ruling https://t.co/fLN25Ll12Y pic.twitter.com/EFUTyFFHqI
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 8, 2023
“I believe that the Biden administration should ignore this ruling,” she argued.
Xavier Becerra, the Health and Human Services Secretary, told CNN on Sunday that the Biden administration is open to ignoring the federal judge’s ruling should its appeals fail in court.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says “everything is on the table” following a Texas federal judge’s ruling to suspend the FDA's approval of the medication abortion drug mifepristone https://t.co/Tk0NLZwafb pic.twitter.com/Ao2pAYqSx6
— CNN (@CNN) April 9, 2023
“So this Texas ruling banning mifepristone goes into effect on Friday unless a stay is issued,” CNN’s Dana Bash said. “The question that women across America have right now is will they have access to abortion medication after this week?”
“Well, they certainly have access today, and we intend to do everything to make sure it’s available to them, not just in a week, but moving forward,” Becerra responded. “Period. Because mifepristone is one of the safest and most effective medicines that we’ve seen over the last 20 years to help women with their, with their healthcare, especially abortion care. So it is incumbent upon us as a country to make sure women have safe and effective medication available.”
“How are you gonna do that?” Bash inquired.
“Well, we’ve already filed an appeal of this court’s ruling,” Becerra said. “One judge in one court in one state turned upside down the FDA’s approval process for safe and effective medications. We have to go to court and seek an appeal.”
“What happens if the ban is upheld?” Bash asked. “Will this drug disappear from the market market overnight?”
“That’s big speculation,” Becerra replied. “First and foremost, when you turn upside down the entire FDA approval process, you’re not talking about just mifepristone, you’re talking about every kind of drug. You’re talking about our vaccines. You’re talking about insulin. You’re talking about the new Alzheimer’s drugs that may come on. If a judge decides to substitute his preference, his personal opinion for that of scientists and medical professionals, what drug isn’t subject to some kind of legal challenge. So we have to go to court, and for America’s sake and for women’s sake, we have to we have to prevail in this.”
“My next guest, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thinks that the FDA should just ignore the Texas judges ruling,” she pressed. “And you know, she’s not alone. I’m sure you’ve seen some legal experts argue. The FDA does have broad discretion to simply choose not to enforce a ban and allow the drug to remain on the market. So yes or no, as the HHS secretary, do you want the FDA to enforce the Texas ruling if it is upheld in the short term?”
“Yes or no, we want the courts to overturn this reckless decision,” he answered. “Yes or no. We want yes, that women continue to have access to a drug that’s proven itself safe. Millions of of women have used this drug around the world. More than 60 countries.”
“But what if they don’t act in, in the interim before you get to that point in the court?” she asked.
“I got to believe that an appeals court, the Supreme Court, whatever, the court has to understand that this ruling by this one, judge overturns not just access to mifepristone, but possibly any number of drugs,” Becerra said.
“If they don’t?” she asked.
That’s speculation that I think is not worth engaging in,” he replied.
“But are you taking it off the table that you will recommend FDA ignore a ban?” she asked.
“Everything is on the table,” Becerra said. “The President said that way back when the Dobbs decision came out. Every option is on the table.”
Becerra also claimed that it is “not America” when a federal judge rules that prescribing an abortion pill violates that law.
“This is not America,” Becerra said. “What you saw by that one judge in that one court, in that one state, that’s not America. America goes by the evidence. America does what’s fair. America does what is transparent and can we can show that what we do is for the right reasons. That’s not America.”
On Sunday, Dana Bash also hosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex (D-NY) on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
AOC on CNN: "The courts rely on the legitimacy of their rulings, and when they make a mockery of our system, a mockery of our democracy, a mockery of our law … we know that the executive branch has enforcement discretion." pic.twitter.com/oyx819Tk0p
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 9, 2023
“What you just heard me ask the secretary about was something that you called on the Biden Administration to do, which was just to simply ignore the court ruling. That’s a pretty stunning position if you think about it!” Dana Bash said. AOC again argued that the executive branch can just ignore a judge’s ruling.
She misleadingly cited President Trump ignoring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was unconstitutionally implemented by former President Obama.
Federal judges on Friday had issued dueling orders on access to the abortion pills, setting up a potential Supreme Court showdown.
“U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ordered a hold on federal approval of mifepristone in a decision that overruled decades of scientific approval. But that decision came at nearly the same time that U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice, an Obama appointee, essentially ordered the opposite and directed U.S. authorities not to make any changes that would restrict access to the drug in at least 17 states where Democrats sued in an effort to protect availability,” the AP reported.
The Supreme Court decision may hinge ultimately on the FDA’s authority to approve a pill that is not being used for “healthcare,” but for ending the lives of unborn human beings.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.