Speed Reads

Abortion Fights

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra slams abortion medication ruling, predicts higher courts will throw it out

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Sunday that he and the rest of the Biden administration expect that a federal appellate court or the Supreme Court will shoot down Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that seeks to ban the abortion medication mifepristone nationwide. The Biden administration has already appealed the ruling, which argues that the Food and Drug Administration Improperly approved mifepristone 20 years ago. Kacsmaryk stayed his ruling until Friday.

Kacsmaryk — the sole federal judge in the district surrounding Amarillo, Texas, known for his anti-abortion views — is trying to ban a drug that has proved very safe and effective for two decades, and if he is allowed 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?" Becerra said on CNN's State of the Union

"When you turn upside down the entire FDA approval process, you're not talking about just mifepristone," but everything from insulin to vaccines to "new Alzheimer's drugs," Becerra said. "So we have to go to court — and for America's sake, and for women's sake, we have to prevail on this." Since a federal judge in Washington state issued a conflicting ruling Friday night, the case is expected to end up at the Supreme Court. 

CNN's Dana Bash pointed out that some Democratic lawmakers and legal experts argue the FDA can just ignore Kacsmaryk's ruling, and she asked Becerra if he would advise that if the conservative Supreme Court sides with the anti-abortion camp again. He said that's speculation "not worth engaging in," but ultimately "everything is on the table." Whatever the ideological leanings of the appellate judges or justices, he added, "they should be able to discern the difference between inserting their personal judgment and using the facts and evidence to make a legal ruling."

"What you saw by that one judge in that one court, in that one state, that's not America," Becerra said. "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."