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News Busters
Newsbusters
8 Apr 2023
Alex Christy


NextImg:CNN Dismisses Baby Size As 'A Theological Opinion,' Compares Abortion To Viagra

Friday’s edition of CNN Tonight reacted to the news that a federal judge suspended the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone with horror, claiming the judge was inserting his “theological opinion” and seriously wondering why pro-lifers don’t target drugs like Viagra or Tylenol.

Host Alisyn Camerota asked Rolling Stone columnist and former Merrick Garland clerk Jay Michaelson to explain how “one federal judge can be -- have such an effect on the country.”

Michaelson began by explaining the concept of “judge shopping,” where liberals and conservatives alike seek judges who they are certain will rule the way they desire, “Thtat’s not controversial. What's shocking -- so, I've been writing about Matthew Kacsmayrk for many years. He has said outrageous things over the years, and there's outrageous things in this opinion. This is a garbage opinion from open to shut.”

He further accused Kacsmaryk of playing to pro-lifers “He calls mifepristone chemical abortion. That's sort of that sort of a dog whistle.”

Mifepristone, like every other pill, is a chemical compound, so it a literally correct description, but even if liberals still object, abortion is still abortion whether you use “chemical” or “medication” as your preferred adjective.

Michaelson concluded his thoughts by adding:

He says that this allows a woman to abort her unborn child at 49 days. So, I bought a visual aid. The so-called unborn child's the size of a grape at 49 days. This is not a judicial opinion. This is a theological opinion. So, Matthew Kacsmaryk has certainly entitled his religious view about when life begins and what constitutes an unborn child. As a rabbi, I have my own views, which are quite different about when life begins. But the idea that this is now being legislated from the bench for the entire country is absolutely unconscionable.

Sounds more like a biological fact, but Camerota didn’t respond except to toss the conversation to senior reporter for The Root, Jessica Washington, who echoed Michaelson, “physicians have reached out to me immediately talking about this ruling, and what they're saying is there's no way to see this as anything other than attack on bodily autonomy, because this isn't about safety.”

Talking over a graph with the headline “Medication abortion is safer than penicillin and Viagra,” Washington claimed, “this is just going to make it slightly less safe and increased side effects. This has nothing to do with safety.”

After former Rep. Mondaire Jones denounced the state of the federal judiciary, Camerota turned to who was supposed to be the panel’s lone conservative, Evan Siegfried. Siegfried denounced judge shopping and denounced the ruling “He legislated from the bench.”

Sounding a lot like Washington, Siegfried also claimed “We've had this drug on the market for 23 years. You know what drugs are more likely to hurt you and kill you? Penicillin, Viagra, Tylenol. The instances of death and harm of this drug are so miniscule. So, if these plaintiffs were so concerned about the health and safety, why aren't they suing to get Viagra yanked or Tylenol or penicillin? No, it's all political.”

It’s one thing for CNN liberals to not understand pro-lifers, but the Republican strategist should know the difference between abortion and Viagra, Tylenol, and penicillin. It should also be noted that Kacsmaryk did not outright ban mifepristone, he simply said the FDA didn’t follow proper bureaucratic procedure.

This segment was sponsored by Consumer Cellular.

Here is a transcript for the April 7 show:

CNN Tonight

4/7/2023

10:06 PM ET

ALISYN CAMEROTA: So, explain how this one federal judge can be -- have such an effect on the country.

JAY MICHAELSON: Well, this is a federal judge, and this, of course, is judge shopping. Liberal groups judge shop. Conservative groups judge shop. That's not-- that's not controversial. What's shocking -- so, I've been writing about Matthew Kacsmayrk for many years. He has said outrageous things over the years, and there's outrageous things in this opinion. This is a garbage opinion from open to shut. The way it finds standing is garbage. The way it addresses the harm is garbage. He calls mifepristone chemical abortion. That's sort of that sort of a dog whistle. He says that this allows a woman to abort her unborn child at 49 days. So, I bought a visual aid. The so-called unborn child's the size of a grape at 49 days. This is not a judicial opinion. This is a theological opinion.

So, Matthew Kacsmaryk has certainly entitled his religious view about when life begins and what constitutes an unborn child. As a rabbi, I have my own views, which are quite different about when life begins. But the idea that this is now being legislated from the bench for the entire country is absolutely unconscionable.

CAMEROTA: Jessica?

JESSICA WASHINGTON: Yeah, I mean just looking at this ruling, it is very hard to find, and especially, you know, physicians have reached out to me immediately talking about this ruling, and what they're saying is there's no way to see this as anything other than attack on bodily autonomy, because this isn't about safety.

This is a drug that has proven to be safe. It's been FDA-approved for 22 years. This is something that is safer than a lot of other drugs on the market. And, actually, what we're doing here is we're making, you know, having a medication abortion more dangerous, not any safer because people will still be able to use misopristol, which is the other medication used when you're trying to have self-medicated abortion. And so this is just going to make it slightly less safe and increased side effects. This has nothing to do with safety.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, what's the recourse here?

MONDAIRE JONES: Well, the recourse is for the higher courts to overturn this ruling. Just taking a step back, I dealt with this issue of mifepristone last year when there was a concern that-- among advocates and legal scholars that the FDA's preemptive authority, like its ability to say “we approve of this drug, and so you, the 50 states in America, cannot then ban that,” that was the concern. So, I authored this resolution, and we passed it through the House saying that, you know, Congress reaffirms its intention to allow the FDA to preempt any state laws that would be in conflict with what the FDA decides to do in this space.

But even then we never imagined that a judge, a Trump judge in this case, would go back 23 years and say, we don't even agree with the original approval of this widely used, safe medication abortion pill.

This is how extreme the federal judiciary has become under Donald Trump because of his activist judges that he has appointed. I mean, there's nothing conservative about this decision for the reasons that we just heard described to us, including issues like standing. And, of course, there was a federal court in Washington State had a contrary ruling this.

CAMEROTA: The -- right. So, now, where does that -- I'm confused at this federal judge in Washington State, then said the opposite of what this judge said, and I'm not sure where that leaves us. Evan, your thoughts.

EVAN SIEGFRIED: Well, first, the ruling that came out just after the Texas ruling was because several liberal states banded together and sued the HHS and the FDA saying we want you to ensure access to mifepristone. And the judge came out and said, yes, I don't think the HHS or FDA really opposed this as defendants in the case, and this is where we're going.

So, we have these two dueling rulings. But the Washington State ruling only applies to the states that sue. It doesn't apply to, say, Alabama or Texas.

But the Texas ruling -- look, I come from a conservative background and I think the Texas ruling is garbage. I think that, A, the judge shopping was despicable. I think that all judge shopping, no matter who does it, is despicable. There was a 100 percent chance in this court that this judge was going to get it because he's the only judge in this particular courthouse. And then what did he do? He did the exact same thing that we Republicans have moaned about for years, if not decades. He legislated from the bench.

And, lastly, what did the judge also do, he said, I know better than the FDA and the medical professionals. We've had this drug on the market for 23 years. You know what drugs are more likely to hurt you and kill you? Penicillin, Viagra, Tylenol. The instances of death and harm of this drug are so miniscule. So, if these plaintiffs were so concerned about the health and safety, why aren't they suing to get Viagra yanked or Tylenol or Penicillin ? No, it's all political.