Wyden, AOC urge Biden to ‘ignore’ judge’s order blocking abortion pill

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Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for President Biden to ignore a federal judge’s temporary hold on the abortion pill, raising alarm about the rule of law taking a back seat to the rule of man.

Mr. Wyden fired off a statement shortly after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued the preliminary injunction Friday blocking the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs used in the abortion-pill protocol, pending the outcome of a legal challenge.

“There is no way this decision has a basis in law. It is instead rooted in conservatives’ dangerous and undemocratic takeover of our country’s institutions,” said the Oregon Democrat. “No matter what happens in seven days, I believe the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to ignore this ruling, which is why I’m again calling on President Biden and the FDA to do just that.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez echoed his sentiments, saying the courts are undermining their legitimacy with the “deeply partisan and unfounded nature of these rulings.”

“I believe that The Biden Administration should ignore this ruling,” the New York Democrat told CNN. “The courts have the legitimacy and they rely on the legitimacy of their rulings, and what they are currently doing is engaged in an unprecedented and dramatic erosion of the legitimacy of the courts.”

She said the Biden administration can “choose whether or not to enforce such a ruling.”

The two Democrats drew immediate pushback from those warning that the rule of law would quickly deteriorate if the executive branch could pick and choose which court rulings to enforce.

“This is unserious,” tweeted former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman, while civil-rights attorney Andrew Laufer said, “We can’t start ignoring rules of Federal Courts no matter how much we despise them. That is what the appellate process is for.”

“Democrats have been shouting the phrases ‘rule of law’ and ‘respect our institutions,’ but some of them forget that when they do not get their way,” said conservative commentator Carmine Sabia in the Conservative Brief.

Attorney General Merrick Garland promptly gave notice that he would appeal Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge said his order would take effect in seven days to allow time for the appeals process.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the decision of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA and will be appealing the court’s decision and seeking a stay pending appeal,” said Mr. Garland. “Today’s decision overturns the FDA’s expert judgment, rendered over two decades ago, that mifepristone is safe and effective. The Department will continue to defend the FDA’s decision.”

AOC calls for the Biden administration to “ignore” a Texas judge’s ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone — one of two drugs used together to cause an abortion. pic.twitter.com/l3VVVT6dG1

— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) April 8, 2023

Other Democrats blasted the decision while showing more caution about rebuffing a federal judge’s order.

Asked about Mr. Wyden’s call to ignore the ruling, Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, said the focus should be on the appeals process.

“I get the sentiment because this is truly infuriating, but the key thing that has to happen right now is to make sure this decision is quickly appealed and overruled in court,” said Ms. Murray on a Saturday press call, according to HuffPost.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is not a lawyer, while Mr. Wyden holds a law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law.

In his 67-page ruling, Judge Kacsmaryk said that the court “does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly.”

“But here, FDA acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns — in violation of its statutory duty — based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions,” said the judge, a Trump appointee who sits on the federal court in Amarillo, Texas.

In a startling twist, U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice in Spokane countered the ruling almost immediately by ordering the FDA to maintain the status quo on the mifepristone in 17 states and the District of Columbia in response to their lawsuit.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced afterward that the abortion pill was still legal in his state.

“I want to be clear: abortion medication remains safe and legal in Illinois,” the Democrat Pritzker said. “One right-wing anti-choice Texas judge will not stand in the way of access to mifepristone in Illinois.”

Judge Kacsymark’s decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of pro-life medical associations and doctors arguing that the FDA violated its own safety protocols in approving mifepristone for self-induced abortions.

The abortion-pill regimen, which is approved for ending pregnancies up to 10 weeks’ gestation, is now the nation’s most popular method of pregnancy termination.

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