The country’s top health official declared on Sunday that a court ruling threatening the availability of an abortion pill “is not the United States” and did not rule out the possibility of defying the judge’s orders if necessary.
“We want the courts to annul this irresponsible ruling,” declared the health Secretary and Human Services, Xavier Becerrato the program “State of the Union” on CNN.
“We do want women to continue to have access to a drug that has been shown to be safe. Millions of women have used this drug around the world,” she added.
She emphasized that, for now, women do have access to mifepristone after a federal judge in Texas appointed by then-President Donald Trump, Matthew Kacsmaryk, on Friday put his ruling on hold for a week so the federal government could file a motion against.
The drug was approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which is led by Becerra.
President Joe Biden has declared that his administration will oppose the ruling issued in Texas. Kacsmaryk’s 67-page ruling gives the government seven days to appeal.
“Our intention is to do everything we can to keep the drug available, not just a week from now, but ultimately into the future, because mifepristone is one of the safest and most effective drugs we’ve seen in the last 20 years for assist women in their medical care, especially in care related to a abortionBecerra said.
Asked if he could recommend that the FDA ignore a court ruling, Becerra replied: “Everything is on the table.”
There is uncertainty about the abortion pill, the method of abortion more common in the United States, due to two conflicting court rulings – one in Texas and one in Washington – on the legality of mifepristone.
Kacsmaryk’s decision, which orders a pause on the official approval of mifepristone, contradicted decades of scientific advice. But a near-simultaneous ruling by Barack Obama appointee Judge Thomas O. Rice in Washington orders authorities not to make any changes that would restrict access to the drug in at least 17 states where Democrats have sued to guarantee such access.
Becerra said that the Kacsmaryk ruling could have dire repercussions for the legality of any drug approved by the FDA – such as insulin or drugs against Alzheimer’s disease – since it seeks to “turn upside down” the entire approval process of the drug. FDA.
Becerra acknowledged that there is “a good chance” that the case will end up being decided in the Supreme Court, which last year overturned the Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to decide about their pregnancy.
“If a judge decides to place his criteria or preference above the opinion of health professionals, what medicine will be exempt from any judicial challenge? That is why we have to go to court,” Becerra said.
“What we have seen from a single judge, in a single court, in a single state, that is not the United States,” Becerra added. “The United States is a country that decides based on evidence. The United States is a country that does the right thing. America is a country that does what is transparent, and we can show that what we do, we do it for the right reasons.”
In an appearance after Becerra on CNN, Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, stated that “it’s important that we take care of women” and “that we have real discussions about women’s health care” but “we have to get out of this conversation about the abortion. Women have many other problems that have nothing to do with the abortion. … Let’s talk about other things that are happening in this world.”
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