We discuss the court’s duel over access to abortion pills. Then, Dr. Kristin Lyerly joins to talk about the safety of mifepristone and the ramifications of banning it.
Guest: Kristin Lyerly
We once again have to start the show with the breaking news of another shooting, this time in Louisville, Kentucky, exactly two weeks after the shooting at the Covenant School in Tennessee.
At the top of the show, at least five people were killed and six others were injured in a shooting at a bank in downtown Louisville, Ky., on Monday morning.
Paul Humphrey, the deputy chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said that the police received calls about a shooting at Old National Bank around 8:30 a.m. When they arrived on the scene, “they encountered active gunshots still being fired inside the location.”
Chief Humphrey said that the suspected gunman, who was not named, was confirmed dead at the scene. “We do not know exactly the circumstances of his death at this time,” he said. The motive is still unknown.
Over the weekend, a federal judge in Texas ruled to suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone (the first of two medications used in the abortion pill, which is actually two pills). The drug’s been on the market for over two decades and accounts for more than half of all US abortions. In his 67-page opinion, the judge sided with the drug’s challengers, who argued the FDA rushed mifepristone’s approval and chose “politics over science.” If upheld, the Texas ruling would pull mifepristone from shelves and throw the future of the abortion pill into question.
But plot twist! Less than an hour later, a federal judge in Washington ordered the FDA to keep “the status quo” and maintain access to mifepristone in 17 states plus DC that wanted to protect and expand access. That judge argued, in part, it was unusual for the judicial wing to intervene in executive-branch regulatory decisions
Now, there are two competing rulings on mifepristone.
So what now? The abortion pill is still available for now. The Texas judge’s ruling wouldn’t have gone into effect until the end of this week, to allow the federal government enough time to appeal. The Biden admin’s done just that. A conservative-leaning appeals court now expects to take up the case. But experts say the dueling rulings will most likely put the case before the Supreme Court — setting up a high-stakes showdown over access to mifepristone.
What are people saying? Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said the Texas ruling was “not America” and didn’t rule out ignoring the order if necessary. Other Democrats called the ruling “outrageous,” “extreme,” and “devastating.” The FDA said its decades-old approval had been “based on the best available science” and in accordance with the law.
Meanwhile, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) said the Texas ruling was a “victory for pregnant mothers and their unborn children.” And the Alliance Defending Freedom — a key player in the Texas case — said “It’s high time the agency is held accountable for its reckless actions.”
But other than Cindy? Not a whole lot of Republicans had a whole lot to say. I wonder why?
Dr. Kristin Lyerly joins us to talk about the safety and different uses of mifepristone. We also talk about the fact that, while many doctors try to not be political when you work in reproductive health in these times, you can’t be.