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The New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Sunday there was “an extraordinary amount of precedent” for the Joe Biden White House to ignore a Friday court ruling suspending federal approval of a drug used in medication abortion.
Those remarks from the Democratic US House member quickly prompted a threat by the Texas Republican congressman Tony Gonzales to defund certain programs under the federal agency which oversees medication approvals if Biden’s administration did as Ocasio-Cortez suggested.
The Biden administration has already said it plans to appeal a Friday ruling from Texas-based federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a conservative appointed by the Donald Trump White House, that blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the drug mifepristone. The FDA approved the drug in 2000, a move that is now being challenged by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group.
In urging the Biden administration to decline to enforce the ruling, Ocasio-Cortez noted that the Trump administration had ignored court rulings on immigration issues. She also pointed out that there was a contradicting ruling from a federal judge in Washington state on Friday which blocked the FDA from taking any action to limit access to the drug, virtually ensuring that the US supreme court would settle the matter at some point.
“There is an extraordinary amount of precedent for this …The Trump administration also did this very thing. This has happened before,” she said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union.
“The courts rely on the legitimacy of their rulings. And when they make a mockery of our system, a mockery of our democracy and a mockery of our law, as what we just saw happen in this mifepristone ruling, then I believe that the executive branch, and we know that the executive branch has enforcement discretion, especially in light of a contradicting ruling coming out of Washington.”
CNN host Dana Bash said Ocasio-Cortez was offering a “pretty stunning position” and pressed the congresswoman on whether the Biden administration should ignore the ruling if the US supreme court eventually upheld Kacsmaryk’s decision.
“I think one of the things that we need to examine is the grounds of that ruling,” she said. “But I do not believe that the courts have the authority … over the FDA that [Kacsmaryk] just asserted. And I do believe that it creates a crisis. Should the supreme court do that, it would essentially institute a national abortion ban.”
During a later appearance on State of the Union, Gonzales told Bash that there would be consequences if the Biden administration ignored the ruling.
“The House Republicans have the power of the purse,” Gonzales said. “And if the administration wants to not live up to this ruling, then we’re gonna have a problem. And it may become a point where House Republicans on the appropriations side have to defund FDA programs that don’t make sense.”
Bash also asked the secretary of the US department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, whether ignoring the ruling was “off the table”. Becerra declined to say specifically what the administration would do if appellate courts, including the supreme court, upheld the decision.
“Everything is on the table,” he said on CNN. “We want the courts to overturn this reckless decision.”
AOC urges Biden to ignore Texas ruling suspending approval of abortion drug | Abortion
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