West News Wire: The nation’s top health official claimed on Sunday that a court decision restricting access to a key prescription for medication abortion was “not America” and did not rule out violating the judge’s order in some circumstances.
President Joe Biden’s health secretary, Xavier Becerra, stated on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “we want the courts to overturn this reckless decision.” “Yes, we do want women to continue having access to a medicine that has a good track record of safety. This medication has been consumed by millions of women worldwide.
He emphasized that for the time being, women do have access to the abortion drug mifepristone after Donald Trump’s appointment Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal judge in Texas, postponed his Friday order for a week so federal officials could file a challenge. The drug was approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration, which is overseen by the Health and Human Services Department headed by Becerra.
“For America’s sake and for women’s sake, we have to prevail in this,” he said.
Biden has said his administration would fight the Texas ruling. Kacsmaryk’s 67-page order gave the government seven days to appeal.
“We intend to do everything to make sure it’s available to them not just in a week, but moving forward, period, because mifepristone is one of the safest and most effective medicines that we have seen over the last 20 years to help women with their health care, especially abortion care,” Becerra said.
Asked whether he might recommend that the FDA ignore a ban, Becerra said, “Everything is on the table.”
There is uncertainty about access to the most commonly used method of abortion in the United States following two separate and conflicting court rulings in Texas and Washington over the legality of mifepristone.
Kacsmaryk’s decision ordering a hold on federal approval of mifepristone overruled decades of scientific approval. But a ruling at nearly the same time in Washington state from that U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice, a Barack Obama appointee, 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.
Becerra said Kacsmaryk’s order could have dire ramifications for the legality of any FDA-approved drug, such as vaccines, insulin or new Alzheimer’s drugs coming onto the market because it seeks to “turn upside down” the entire FDA approval process.
The former California attorney general acknowledged a “good chance” that the case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, which last year overturned Roe v. Wade and curtailed access to abortion across the country.
“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,” he said.
Alluding to Kacsmaryk, the Cabinet secretary 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 we can show that what we do is for the right reasons.”