Loveland Reporter-Herald

The Chicago Tribune on how Abortion pill extremists are disingenuo­us absolutist­s:


When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last year, freeing states to limit or ban abortion, we knew abortion pills would become a target.

What’s the point of a law, after all, that can be circumvent­ed by using a few pills shipped to private homes anywhere in the country after a simple telehealth or online appointmen­t?

Sure enough, anti-abortion activists and partisan judges are proceeding on multiple fronts to make it harder to safely end pregnancie­s via medication, currently, and rightly, America’s most popular method.

This unsettled time in the law poses big risks for the rights of individual­s and businesses. In their zeal to end abortion, its opponents could undermine the federal government’s ability to regulate commerce, ensure food and drugs are safe and maintain privacy on the internet.

One of the most egregious examples is a lawsuit proceeding in Amarillo, Texas, where an anti-abortion group has teamed up with a like-minded federal judge to attack government oversight essential to the smooth workings of a “United” States. It’s no accident that the lawsuit was filed in Amarillo, where, by rule, nearly all federal cases get assigned to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.

Before his appointmen­t to the bench by then-president Donald Trump, Kacsmaryk championed legal assaults on LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and contracept­ion. The Supreme Court stopped an early ruling he made against immigrants seeking asylum, which he followed up with another, and he also has ruled in support of discrimina­tion against transgende­r Americans.

Plaintiffs routinely file lawsuits in venues likely to favor their interests. With the country increasing­ly divided, that legal gamesmansh­ip has become more pernicious, as plaintiffs sometimes can pick not just a location but a specific judge. It damages Americans’ sense of justice when a “Trump judge” can always be counted on to rule one way on a culture war issue, and a judge appointed by Democrats another. That’s especially true when long-establishe­d practices affecting the entire country are being swept aside.

In this case, an anti-abortion group is asking Kacsmaryk to overturn the Food and Drug Administra­tion’s approval in 2000 of mifepristo­ne for medication-induced abortion, claiming the FDA improperly fast-tracked its review more than two decades ago. On Feb. 13, 22 Republican state attorneys general filed a brief urging Kacsmaryk to find against the FDA, which would likely result in a national ban on the drug, at least until higher courts could adjudicate further.

Contrary to the wilder claims of pro-abortion rights activists, a ruling against the FDA would not end abortion nationwide, or even necessaril­y stop abortion by medication. The current gold-standard treatment involves two drugs, and where mifepristo­ne is unavailabl­e or too costly, abortions are conducted with just one drug, misoprosto­l, which is unlikely to be similarly banned because it’s used to treat ulcers and other conditions unrelated to abortion.

The most cynical aspect of the lawsuit is its false claim that mifepristo­ne is unsafe, and women need to be protected from it. The anti-abortion activists behind this litigation couldn’t care less about the health and welfare of women who want the pill for abortions. Their goal is to set up as many roadblocks as possible, no matter the suffering their tactics might cause to those most directly involved.

Authoritie­s such as Chicago’s American Medical Associatio­n and the American College of Obstetrici­ans and Gynecologi­sts have declared mifepristo­ne safe. Millions of women have taken the drug around the world, experienci­ng fewer problems than with more invasive surgical abortions. Further, eliminatin­g the two-drug regimen puts those who take just the one remaining drug at a higher risk of painful cramps and other unpleasant side effects, though the outcome is the same: A surgery-free, safe and effective abortion.

This page has long supported a woman’s right to choose, grounded in our belief in her autonomy over her body and our commitment to individual freedoms. We accept that with Roe gone, each state can take its own path on this divisive issue, with some imposing bans that cruelly endanger the health of pregnant women. Extreme efforts to enforce these bans should worry everyone, no matter their views on abortion.

Does anybody seriously believe the country would be better off if food and drugs were regulated by Texas or other individual states, instead of the FDA? What about state laws targeting people who go online to research abortions, or any other topic that far-right lawmakers and judges might find objectiona­ble? Should remote medical appointmen­ts and mail-order pharmaceut­icals be subject to onerous restrictio­ns aimed at preventing one controvers­ial procedure? Should the pharmacies at Walgreens and CVS be turned into battlegrou­nds, and companies such as Danco Laboratori­es, which makes the branded version of mifepristo­ne, be prevented from selling safe products they’ve invested in for years?

Anti-abortion activists have made their intentions clear: Stop abortion at all costs, even if that means suspending medical ethics and disrupting the smooth functionin­g of American society.

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