Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on Sunday dismissed concerns that recent abortion pill ruling by a federal judge in Texas will upend the Food and Drug Administration’s authority and have wider consequences for other drugs.
In an interview with Cassidy on “Meet the Press,” NBC News' Chuck Todd said U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's ruling to suspend the FDA’s longtime approval of the key abortion pill mifepristone appears to call FDA approval of other drugs into question.
“Do you worry about the upending a status quo and sort of upending the FDA’s authority in a way that will be — create sort of chaos in the pharmaceutical industry?” Todd asked.
Cassidy replied: "I think that’s totally alarmist. It’s totally alarmist. And by the way, when did the FDA think they could go above the law?
"It can ignore it — it can ignore the Administrative Procedure Act, which every other agency has to follow theoretically, but they don’t have to? So, so, I mean, I think that’s alarmist, and I also think that the FDA should not be above the law," Cassidy added.
Cassidy, who is a physician, was asked whether he's glad the Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“I think Dobbs is the uncomfortable middle ground where people will confront that there’s a diversity of opinion and no one group has the ability to impose their will upon the other,” he said. "And so Dobbs, I think, was the correct decision."
Other Republicans expressed skepticism of the ruling but didn't outright denounce it.
“I don’t like a district court judge issuing a national decree,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Even if I agree with the judge. And what the judge held here is that the Federal Drug Administration didn’t follow their own rules.”
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina called for both parties to find a compromise, saying that she supports certain bans but that Republicans should back exceptions for victims of rape and incest.
“There’s a lot of middle ground. I think it’s important in how we talk about these issues and offer solutions,” Mace said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’ve got 14 counties in South Carolina that don’t have a single OB-GYN doctor. So if we’re going to ban abortion, what are we doing to make sure women have access to birth control?”
Democrats have decried the ruling, calling it “unbelievable” and an “outrage.”
The Supreme Court last week temporarily blocked Kacsmaryk's decision, which would prevent patients from obtaining the key abortion pill mifepristone by mail.
The Justice Department and Danco Laboratories, which makes the brand version of mifepristone, Mifeprex, had asked the court to step in immediately.
Justice Samuel Alito, who issued the brief order, said the hold would remain in effect until midnight Wednesday, giving the justices more time to consider next steps.
The FDA approved mifepristone more than 20 years ago to be used in combination with a second drug, misoprostol, to terminate pregnancies at up to 10 weeks. More than half of abortions in the U.S. are done through medication abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.