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Morning Rundown: Abortion pill fight resumes, GOP eyes Kentucky governor’s race and Elon Musk defends his tweets.

Attorneys will try to persuade a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans not to roll back accessibility of the abortion pill mifepristone.

The abortion pill fight heads to Louisiana. Kentucky's primary sets up a hard-fought battle for governor. And Elon Musk says ''so be it'' if he faces consequences for his controversial tweets. 

Here's what to know today.

▼ The Lead

Abortion pill fight heads to federal appeals court

A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments today about the abortion pill mifepristone, a month after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas sided with the pill's challengers and suspended the Food and Drug Administration's approval.

Attorneys for the FDA and the drug's manufacturer will try to persuade a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans not to roll back accessibility. 

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The challengers — a group of doctors and medical professionals called the Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine, who oppose abortion — argue the drug is not as safe as the FDA says it is and that its approval should be revoked. The group will also argue against changes the FDA made in recent years that expanded the pool of eligible patients and allowed the drug to be sent by mail. 

The panel at today's hearing is made up of two judges nominated by former President Donald Trump and a third judge nominated by former President George W. Bush. All three have histories of supporting restrictions on abortion.

The case could help decide the future of what is now the most commonly used abortion pill in the U.S.

Politics reporter Dareh Gregorian details the factors at play in the mifepristone fight, including a separate court case in Washington state that may increase the odds for a showdown at the Supreme Court.

In other news about the abortion fight:

  • North Carolina has instituted an abortion ban after 12 weeks after Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto, allowing it to become law.

▼ Top Stories

The obstacle in the debt ceiling debate

There appeared to be some optimism after a meeting yesterday between President Joe Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders to discuss a way to break the logjam on the debt ceiling. While Republicans and Democrats are still “far apart,” “it is possible to get to a deal by the end of the week,” McCarthy said.

 But Republican demands to impose tougher work requirements for federal aid programs such as Medicaid and SNAP have emerged as an obstacle to finding consensus. The concession is part of the debt ceiling bill that House Republicans passed last month, and those requirements won’t fly with many Democrats. 

Despite having what he called a “good, productive meeting,” Biden will cut a trip to Asia short to continue negotiations. 

The hardest-fought election of 2023 could be in Kentucky

Republican State Attorney General Daniel Cameron won yesterday’s primary for Kentucky governor, setting the stage for a general election battle against Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in November. Cameron has been seen as a rising star in the Kentucky GOP for years. He calls Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell a “mentor” and touts support from Donald Trump. 

Even with the state’s rightward lean, defeating Beshear won’t be an easy task. Beshear has earned popularity as a leader focused on kitchen table issues, who played the role of consoler-in-chief and took center stage in the early days of the Covid pandemic.

In the secretary of state fight, Republican incumbent Michael Adams is projected to have fended off challenges from two candidates who campaigned on voter fraud claims. 

Elon Musk defends his tweets in wide-ranging interview

The tech billionaire and Twitter owner said he wouldn’t stop sharing extremist views in a wide-ranging and at times combative live interview on CNBC. Hours earlier, a tweet about fellow billionaire George Soros was widely condemned, but Musk stood firm. “I’ll say what I want to say, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it,” he said. 

Musk also called the work-from-home trend morally wrong, promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and admitted some of his layoffs at Twitter might have gone too far.

▼ Today’s Talker

Chronic pain is more common than…

… diabetes, depression or high blood pressure, according to a study released this week. The study relied on annual survey results from the National Institutes of Health, which asked people to assess how often they experienced pain the prior three months, and compared the number of cases to other conditions. Only one was more common.

▼ Politics in Brief

Florida politics: Democrat Donna Deegan won the Jacksonville mayoral race in a shocking upset that flipped the office from Republican leadership.

Immigration: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he is sending more than 1,100 state law enforcement agents and National Guard members to the Texas border. 

Virginia attack: The 49-year-old man accused of attacking two staff members with a metal baseball bat at Rep. Gerry Connolly’s office refused to appear at his arraignment

▼ Staff Pick

How Uvalde parents are coping

It’s been nearly a year since a lone gunman unleashed a torrent of bullets on young children and their teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, forever transforming the small Texas community. Some parents have channeled their anger into political action, while others have seen their worlds shrink under the pressure of unrelenting grief. Of the six parents Tom Llamas and I spoke with, all said no amount of time can heal their wounds. — Alicia Victoria Lozano, national reporter

▼ In Case You Missed It

  •  Police identified the New Mexico teen who killed three senior citizens, including a mother and her daughter, before responding officers fatally shot him.
  • An Illinois girl whose disappearance was featured on Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries” was found alive, six years after she was allegedly abducted by her mother.
  • Priscilla Presley says she settled a dispute with her granddaughter over the estate of Lisa Marie Presley, which essentially holds the entirety of Elvis Presley’s estate.
  • On a mission to liberate “Taco Tuesday,” Taco Bell has asked regulators to force another taco chain to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark.

▼ Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

 The weekend is still a few days away, but it’s never a bad time to think about ways to relax and unwind, and the Select team wants to help. Here are 16 products they say helped reduce their stress, including a chunky weighted blanket, a Turkish cotton robe, face masks and even a French press.

Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.