Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy hit back at NBC News anchor Chuck Todd over his framing of a question about a federal judge’s ruling on the abortion pill, mifepristone.
A federal judge in Texas ruled April 8 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must reverse its previous approval of mifepristone and misoprostol, another chemical abortion drug. The ruling stated that the agency had to classify pregnancy as an illness and designate abortion pills as providing a “meaningful therapeutic benefit” in order to get them approved in 2000.
Todd cited the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology classifying mifepristone as a safe and effective drug to take in order for a woman to end her pregnancy, and questioned Cassidy on whether the FDA insight on the safe use of the drug should matter.
“You have said their word matters when it comes to over-the-counter birth control, should their word matter when it comes to the use of mifepristone?” Todd asked.
“I think you’re going back to the assertion that the principle basis of the court case in Texas was about the safety, and I think specifically it said that the accelerated pathway was supposed to approve a drug to treat an illness,” Cassidy said. “It is a stretch to call a pregnancy an illness and of course, obviously we know what happens to the unborn baby. And so, I’m not really quite sure you’re framing this question accurately.”
Cassidy also argued the issue of abortion is “cultural and social” given that the constituents of individual states have different outlooks on the issue. He said his state is more pro-life than blue states and thus their laws will differ greatly than California or Massachusetts. (RELATED: Jean-Pierre Says Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Call To Ignore Abortion Pill Ruling Sets ‘Dangerous Precedent’)
Todd argued that the Texas decision will set a precedent of questioning other FDA approvals on other drugs and could potentially cause “chaos” in the pharmaceutical industry. Cassidy called that speculation “alarmist,” and argued that the FDA has been able “to go above the law” by ignoring the Administrative Procedure Act.
The Administrative Procedure Act is a federal law that guides agencies on how to issue rules and regulations.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Corez and Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace called on the FDA to ignore the judge’s ruling, arguing that judges should not interfere in the agency’s decision.
Cassidy further accused Todd of inaccurately framing a question regarding Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu saying that the public has a perception that Republicans are “trying to massively blow up the system” by overturning Roe v. Wade. The Louisiana senator agreed with Sununu about the public’s perception that the overturn will cause a nationwide ban on abortion, but said the response will vary depending on the state.
“There is a perception issue out there. But what Dobbs does, it returns to the states the decisions to allow the decision to be reflective of the state. In New Jersey, it doesn’t change. In Louisiana, it reflects our values…I agree with kind of the premise of what Governor Sununu said, but I’m kinda disagreeing with how you’re presenting it,” Cassidy said.