“You can only imagine what comes next”
What’s at stake for other FDA-approved drugs if a federal judge bans medication abortion.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Welcome to Supercreator Daily, your weekday morning guide to the politicians, power brokers and policies shaping the American creator experience. It’s Thursday, April 6.
Programming note: Supercreator will not publish the newsletter tomorrow (April 7) or next Friday (April 14) so your author can enjoy a couple of personal days during the congressional recess. See you on Monday!
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The future of medication abortion hangs in the balance as a federal judge in Texas prepares to issue a ruling on whether to revoke Food and Drug Administration approval of one of the drugs used in the procedure and remove it from the market nationwide.
Less than a year removed from the Dobbs Supreme Court decision that empowered the states to regulate any aspect of abortion unprotected by federal law, this would be a devastating blow for the one in two pregnant people who receive mifepristone for abortion or miscarriage care.
But as Jennifer Dalven, director of the Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Supercreator on Wednesday, a ban on medication abortion could have wide-reaching implications for other FDA-approved drugs.
“If [the anti-abortion movement] can go to court and get their hand-picked judge to say we’re going to withdraw the approval, then you can only imagine what’s going to come next,” she said. “We know a lot of folks in this country have opposition to vaccines, for example. What’s to stop the next person from saying, ‘Hey, that was an ingenious idea. We never though that would work,’ and going to court and saying we’re going to have to challenge the FDA approval of X, Y or Z drug that we have political opposition to.”
The case — Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al. v. US Food and Drug Administration et al. — was brought by anti-abortion organizations and societies represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It was filed in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, a city in the state’s panhandle, where most cases are automatically assigned to Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. Kacsmaryk has ruled against access to abortion care without parental consent and issued opinions that enable discrimination against the LGBTQ community and limits the rights of immigrants.
The lawsuit claims that the FDA exceeded its authority and used an improper process when it approved mifepristone over 20 years ago. The plaintiffs also argued that the FDA insufficiently studied the drug’s safety and effectiveness and attacked the agency’s decision to allow patients to receive mifepristone through the mail.
Despite this strategy to prevent people from having access to a medication that the FDA has studied and approved, Jenny Ma, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement to Supercreator that the “science and evidence are disputable” on the safety and effectiveness of mifepristone.
In addition to the federal case, Texas has recently introduced two bills that Aron Solomon, chief legal analyst at Esquire Digital, told Supercreator in an interview on Wednesday shifts the debate about the safety and effectiveness of medication abortion to one about whether internet service providers should be forced to block websites that provide access to abortion pills or credit card companies should be liable for processing transactions related to abortion pills.
“What Texas is doing is really trying to regulate internet commerce,” Solomon said. “This is why I think that legislators and legislatures are going to have a much better chance of success at stopping people from getting abortion pills.”
On Capitol Hill, congressional Democrats have reintroduced several bills, including the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would restore the right to abortion care enshrined in Roe v. Wade, that have virtually no chance of passing the House or Senate but generate news coverage to keep reproductive freedom top of mind for base and swing voters.
A Democratic aide told Supercreator that what’s helped House Democrats refine their message and policies on abortion care is the sheer number of women in the caucus. (16 new Democrats were elected to the current Congress as part of a record-breaking 94 women in the House.)
And even though they may lack the votes to pass legislation to protect abortion rights, for example, the goal is to make the experience of blocking popular policies a painful experience for Republicans.
“That's certainly born out of their experiences as moms, as teachers, as grandmas,” the aide added. “And you see that reflected. It’s real-life experience and that translates to every issue, including abortion.”
It’s anyone’s guess when the decision will come. But both Dalven and Solomon expect that if the plaintiffs prevail, the government will seek a stay of the ruling while it appeals the decision to the Fifth Circuit. And while some observers think that the case could ultimately make its way to the Supreme Court, Solomon is skeptical that the justices will want to get involved.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday that the White House has been in internal discussions on how it would move forward if medication abortion is banned. She said the administration is preparing for a different range of scenarios to ensure people access to mifepristone but declined to share any details of the conversations.
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HERE’S WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY:
Pelosi gives McCarthy props for Tsai meeting:
Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a bipartisan group of House members on Wednesday met with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan in a high-profile demonstration of solidarity with the island country. McCarthy received kudos from an unlikely source: His predecessor Nancy Pelosi, who famously once called him a “moron” in 2021. “Today’s meeting between President Tsai of Taiwan and Speaker McCarthy is to be commended for its leadership, its bipartisan participation and its distinguished and historic value,” Pelosi said in a statement released after the meeting.
Pelosi, a loud-and-proud China hawk, traveled to Taiwan last year against the private wishes of the White House to stand up for democracy and against autocratic leaders like President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia. ICYMI:“Nancy Pelosi gets scared too, believe it or not”
China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, responded to Pelosi’s visit with a series of provocative military exercises. The country engaged in some fierce sabre-rattling leading up to the McCarthy-Tsai meeting and sent several naval ships near Taiwan’s coast for what it described as a three-day “joint patrol and inspection” operation.
The White House, as it did with Pelosi’s visit, is working to cool the tensions. Officials downplayed the meeting as an unofficial transit that does nothing to change the US’s “one-China policy” that acknowledges Beijing while enabling an informal bond and military relationship with Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. “We have said there is no reason for Beijing to turn this transit into something that is used a pretext to overreact,” White House spokesperson Karine-Jean Pierre said on Wednesday. “We’ve been very clear about that.”
Rosen gives Senate Dems a Boost:
Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada on Wednesday gave Senate Democrats a boost when she announced her reelection campaign. In her launch video, she highlighted lowering costs for working families, protecting abortion rights, fighting the climate crisis and safeguarding Social Security and Medicare as policy priorities. “I’ve worked with both parties to solve problems and always focused on making a difference in people’s lives,” Rosen said. Watch the video
Senate Democrats face a tough Senate map this year that puts them on defense in 23 states, including three battlegrounds that President Biden lost in 2020: Montana, Ohio and West Virginia. Republicans are only defending 10 seats this cycle and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he will be much more involved in recruiting and selecting candidates than he was in 2022 when several Trump-endorsed extremists costs his conference the majority. “Nevada is always a battleground, and this Senate race will be one of the toughest in the country,” Rosen said. “What happens in Nevada in 2024 could once again decide control of the Senate.”
Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio have already announced their reelection campaigns. Joe Manchin has said he won’t announce if he’ll run in West Virginia, retire from public office of challenge Biden in the Democratic primary.
Nevada’s other senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, successfully defended her seat in 2022 to help give Senate Democrats a 51-49 majority this Congress.
Abrams joins Howard in new race and Black politics role:
Stacey Abrams, the two-time Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia and voting rights advocate, was announced on Wednesday as the inaugural endowed chair for race and Black politics in the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University.
In her new role, Abrams will foster interdisciplinary collaborations across the university, inspire research solutions to adverse Black people and other vulnerable communities and lead a speakers series with a range of invited guests. “Our obligation to build generational leadership in public policy never stops — here in GA or DC, across the US or around the world,” Abrams said in a tweet. “Let’s get it done.”
Abrams hasn’t ruled out another run for public office after two failed gubernatorial campaigns and joins Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates as other high-profile Black leaders who have come on to Howard’s faculty and staff in recent years.
WH steers clear of another LSU-Iowa controversy:
LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese shared why she declined to accept First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s explanation for suggesting President Biden invite Iowa, the team Reese’s Lady Tigers beat in the national championship game on Sunday, to the White House for an official visit.
“If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House,” Reese said on the I Am Athlete podcast. “It bothers me because you're a woman at the end of the day, and you're supposed to be standing behind us before anything. “So, it's hard to see things like that and not comment back on it.”
Karine Jean-Pierre declined to respond to Reese’s comments during Wednesday’s daily briefing instead pointing to President Biden’s invitations to LSU and the University of Connecticut’s men’s team for their championship wins during this year’s March Madness.
The suggestion that LSU’s mostly Black team should share space with Iowa’s mostly white team, despite losing teams never being invited to visit the White House, reinforced the racial trope of Black people having to be twice as good to get half of what white people receive simply for existing.
Vanessa Valdivia, press secretary for Dr. Biden, said her suggestion that the Iowa women’s basketball team be invited to the White House despite losing to LSU in the national championship game “were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes.”
WH announces Easter Egg Roll theme:
As this morning’s newsletter was being produced, the White House announced the theme of this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll next Monday: “EGGucation. This should come as no surprise given Dr. Biden’s day job as a community college professor.
In addition to the traditions of hunting and rolling eggs, the White House said the event will also feature a School House Activity Area, Reading Nook, Talent Show, Field Trip to the Farm, Picture Day, a Physical “EGGucation” Zone, a Snack Time Tent and more.
Approximately 30,000 people will take part in this year’s Roll, including thousands of military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.
The event will be broken into nine sessions, beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET and ending at 7:00 p.m. ET
All times Eastern:
President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office (11 a.m.). The president and first lady will leave the White House (4 p.m.) to travel to Camp David for the weekend (4:20 p.m.).
Vice President Harris will travel from Washington, DC (10:05 a.m.) to Chattanooga, Tennessee (11:45 a.m.) to tour Qcells, a solar panel manufacturing plant in Dalton, GA (1:15 p.m.). Harris will then speak about clean energy (1:50 p.m.) before traveling from Chattanooga (4:30 p.m.) back to DC (5:55 p.m.).
The House and Senate are out.
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