Progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned Sunday that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a right-wing federal judge’s ruling banning access to abortion pills, “it would essentially institute a national abortion ban.”
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) doubled down on her earlier call for the Biden administration to ignore a ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk — an appointee of former President Donald Trump — declaring the FDA’s approval of mifepristone to be illegal.
The agency approved the medication, one of two drugs used for medically induced abortions, in 2000. Millions of people have safely used mifepristone since then, and in January the FDA announced it could be sold in retail pharmacies.
“The reality of our courts right now is very disturbing. This ruling is an extreme abuse of power. It is an extraordinary example of judicial overreach,” Ocasio-Cortez told host Dana Bash. “I do not believe that the courts have the authority over the FDA that they just asserted and I do believe that it creates a crisis.”
“Once you start banning medication abortion, which represents the overwhelming number of abortions in the United States, then we are in extremely dangerous territory,” Ocasio-Cortez argued.
Ocasio-Cortez added that if the Supreme Court affirms Kacsmaryk’s ruling, “it would essentially institute a national abortion ban, because you have an extraordinary amount of states who have implemented surgical bans or bans after very early time periods.”
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra also appeared on “State of the Union” Sunday, telling Bash that “we want the courts to overturn this reckless decision.”
“Everything is on the table. The president said that way back when the Dobbs decision came out. Every option is on the table,” he added, referring to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the 2022 Supreme Court decision invalidating half a century of federal abortion rights.
On the same day as Kacsmaryk’s decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice in Washington state issued a contradictory ruling that blocks the FDA from removing mifepristone from the market.
Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only congressional Democrat calling on the Biden administration to ignore the Texas ruling.
“I think there’s no basis for this ruling in law, and I think that the Biden administration can and must ignore the judge and keep mifepristone on the market and this medication available for every woman in America,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) toldKATU Friday.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday that the Justice Department “strongly disagrees” with Kacsmaryk’s ruling and will appeal the decision.
On Saturday, more than 40 House Democrats urged President Joe Biden to “use all the tools at your disposal to protect access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.”