Democrat to Biden: Ignore Court Ruling against Abortion Pills. It’s What Abraham Lincoln Would Do.
A prominent Democratic senator has urged the Biden administration to “ignore” a potential federal court ruling that could impose a nationwide ban on abortion pills, comparing the “right” to abortion with Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to free the slaves.
“In a few days, a lawless Trump-appointed judge in Texas is expected to ban access to the abortion medication Mifepristone nationwide,” tweeted Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Thursday. Mifepristone, with misoprostol, forms the two-drug regimen that causes a chemical abortion. “Today, I’m calling on the FDA to ignore the ruling and keep this life-saving drug on the market.”
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is expected to rule in a case filed last November by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that argues the FDA approval of the drug in 2000 was illegal and invalid. Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, formerly served as deputy general counsel at the pro-life First Liberty Institute.
Wyden’s tweet encapsulated a 22-minute Senate speech claiming a pro-life ruling against the abortion-inducing drug would be “frightening,” “illegitimate,” and “clearly part of an effort to backtrack on a century of progress for American women and deprive them of fundamental rights.”
“The power of the judiciary begins and ends with its legitimacy in the eyes of the public,” Wyden said. In fact, courts derive their authority from Article III of the U.S. Constitution. “I have raised my hand and taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I do not intend to dishonor that oath,” Wyden claimed during the speech.
Wyden went on to invoke Abraham Lincoln’s defiance of the Dred Scott case and likened abortion expansion to the abolitionist cause, since both allegedly deal with “the advancement of rights versus the deprivation of rights.”
“Not only have abortion activists placed abortion ideology ahead of sound healthcare, but now they are even calling on the government to ignore federal laws. Senator Wyden directly calling on the FDA to ignore federal court rulings hasn’t been seen since segregationist senators called on politicians to ignore Brown v. Board of Education in 1954,” Connor Semelsberger, director of Federal Affairs at the Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. Exhortations for Southern leaders to engage in “massive resistance” against federal desegregation orders motivated segregationists from Lester Maddox to Bull Connor. In his “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. criticized Alabama Governor George Wallace for having “lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification.”
Wyden’s conservative colleague, Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), replied that Biden and “his team do not need encouragement to break the law to promote DIY abortions — they’re already doing it.”
[If you wish, you may embed the tweet: https://twitter.com/RonWyden/status/1626269042037215237
and/or full video of the speech: https://twitter.com/RonWyden/status/1626284223282786304]
ADF has asked Judge Kacsmaryk to vacate the FDA’s approval in 2000 and all successive rule changes, which could take mifepristone off all national pharmacy shelves as early as the end of this month. “The FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo this dangerous drug regimen,” said ADF. (Family Research Council, the parent organization of The Washington Stand, submitted one of 15 friend-of-the-court briefs in the case.)
Wyden protested that a statute of limitations on FDA review expired decades ago and that Congress signed off of all FDA drug approvals in subsequent legislation.
The Biden administration’s FDA dismissed the lawsuit’s allegedly “speculative allegations of harm” from the pill. “The public interest would be dramatically harmed by effectively withdrawing from the marketplace a safe and effective drug,” the Biden administration argued.
The Biden administration also stated that holding the FDA accountable if it failed to observe proper drug approval protocol would undermine “the pharmaceutical-drug infrastructure.”
But pro-life physicians say the documented harms of chemical abortion are all too real. “I’ve performed at least a dozen surgeries on women who experienced complications when the abortion pill regimen failed, including one emergency surgery just last month,” said Dr. Ingrid Skop, director of medical affairs at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
“The safety of chemical abortion is greatly exaggerated. The largest and best available U.S. data shows that abortion pill-related emergency room visits have skyrocketed more than 500%,” noted Dr. James Studnicki, who also works at CLI. “Many of those abortion pill-related complications are being miscoded as natural miscarriage, which masks the true impact of the abortion pill and also makes those women twice as likely to be admitted for surgery for retained” aborted fetal tissue.
A life-affirming legal decision would protect 40 million women from the potential side effects of chemical abortions, according to numbers published in an analysis from NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Without medication abortion using mifepristone, the share of U.S. counties with an abortion provider could drop from 10% to as low as 8% and access to abortion would be compromised — or possibly disappear altogether — in about one in five US counties that currently have an abortion provider,” according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.
The president reportedly fears the political fallout and his inability to impose his will independent of checks and balances. “White House officials are privately worried about the far-reaching implications if the FDA’s mifepristone approval is struck down and what they see as the limited options they have for responding,” reported Politico. The Biden administration plans to appeal any ruling that harms the abortion industry’s interests immediately and has considered declaring a national health emergency, although officials “don’t believe that declaring a public health emergency would provide meaningful new resources in this fight,” said Jennifer Klein, co-chair of Biden’s Gender Policy Council.
Absent any effective alternative, the Biden administration plans to launch “a messaging response” that “Republicans are determined to ban abortion everywhere,” Politico added.
“The insistent push from pro-abortion politicians for nationwide, no-appointment access to dangerous chemical abortion pills demonstrates just how little these politicians care about protecting women’s health,” Semelsberger concluded.
Judge Kacsmaryk has extended the case’s deadline until next Friday, February 24.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.