One Man Will Decide the Fate of These Pills, and of Millions of Women and Trans Men
A conservative judge heard the pleas of anti-abortion activists to stop the sale of mifepristone nationwide. Plus: The House GOP shuts down the investigation into Donald Trump. And: Randy Rainbow!
Thanks for rising up on this Thursday, March 16, 2023. If you’re celebrating a birthday today, you share your special day with none other than “Ponch,” from the ‘70s TV series CHiPs, actor Erik Estrada, who turns 74 today.
Here Now the News:
TRUMP-APPOINTED JUDGE HOLDS HEARING ON ABORTION PILL: That headline sums up what’s happening: Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk heard arguments Wednesday in Amarillo, Texas, to decide whether the FDA was wrong to approve the drug used in nearly all medication abortions in the U.S., and whether it should be taken off the market. —National Public Radio
WHAT? The drug is called mifepristone, and it’s been used by 5 million Americans since it was approved in 2000.
WHO? The defendants are the FDA, represented by the Justice Department and lawyers for the drug manufacturer, Danco. The plaintiffs are a coalition of anti-abortion medical groups and doctors called the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine who sued the FDA in November.
WHY? They say mifepristone was improperly approved as part of a two-drug protocol that's used to end pregnancies in the first trimester.
WHAT DO THEY WANT? The plaintiffs have filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction to ban or limit sale of mifepristone in the U.S.
AND THE DEFENSE? The FDA wants the judge to deny that motion, saying the lawsuit isn't likely to succeed, and noted that injunctions are commonly issued to preserve the status quo. But in this case, an injunction "would upend the status quo" held for more than 20 years.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN? Kacsmaryk has a number of options, from leaving the drug on the market to reversing how much easier the Biden administration made it to access mifepristone, including allowing the drug to be mailed or dispensed by retail pharmacies. In 2016, the FDA expanded use of mifepristone to during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, up from seven weeks.
ULTIMATE GOAL OF PLAINTIFFS: Alliance lawyers are urging the judge to grant a nationwide injunction, effective immediately, to at least temporarily remove the drug from the market while this case plays out.
AND THE DEFENSE? Lawyers for the FDA asked the judge that, should he side with the plaintiffs, focus any decision on specific issues, rather than curtailing all access to mifepristone.
READING THE TEA LEAVES: During the hearing, NPR reported Kacsmaryk appeared to be considering whether he should order the drug to be taken off the market right away or order other action by the FDA.
LANDMARK POTENTIAL: If the lawsuit succeeds, it could have sweeping repercussions for abortion providers and patients across the nation, as well as for the FDA's drug-approval process. At least 25 states have filed amicus briefs in the case.
WHAT’S NEXT? Whatever Kacsmaryk decides, it will likely be appealed and could eventually end up before the Supreme Court. —More at NPR
PENTAGON RELEASES DRONE VIDEO: The Associated Press and CNN
GONE FISHING: Russian naval forces are on site in the Black Sea where a U.S. drone went down, ahead of American naval ships. —Al Jazeera and CBS News
SELL THE APP OR BE BANNED IN THE U.S.: That’s the ultimatum the White House has given the owners of TikTok. —The New York Times
L.A. TEACHERS PLAN 3-DAY STRIKE STARTING TUESDAY: L.A. Times
OPPONENTS OF GOP PLAN TO RESHAPE FLORIDA COLLEGES SPEAK OUT: WPTV-TV
NEXT BANKING CRISIS? Credit Suisse is facing financial trouble. —BBC
FORMER WELLS FARGO EXEC FACES PRISON AND STEEP FINES FOR FAKE ACCOUNTS SCANDAL: Reuters
RICHARD BRANSON’S VIRGIN ORBIT SPACE COMPANY GROUNDED: The billionaire’s space venture is shutting down operations for one week to regroup and solve a funding crisis. —CNN
Speaking of Spaaaaace
SEE THE NEW SPACESUITS ASTRONAUTS WILL WEAR ON THE MOON:
No, they won’t be black, says manufacturer Axiom. And find out why they won’t be coming back to Earth. —CNN and CollectSpace.com
TOTALLY SHOCKING MOVE BY HOUSE GOP: House Republicans have quietly halted a congressional investigation into whether Donald J. Trump profited improperly from the presidency, declining to enforce a court-supervised settlement agreement that demanded that Mazars USA, his former accounting firm, produce his financial records to Congress. —NYT
RANDY’S BACK WITH A SANTOS SPOOF: The one and only Randy Rainbow returns after a far-too-long absence with a fresh musical parody video mocking out gay lying liar Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) to the tune of Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins and Georgy Girl by The Seekers. Enjoy!
BUFFALO CHRISTIAN LOSES RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION CASE: Public Education worker Raymond Zdunski claimed having to attend mandatory workplace training on LGBTQ+ issues violated his religious beliefs as a devout Christian. So he refused to go. He was fired. He sued. He lost. And then another judge ruled against him on Monday. Ray claims he’s going to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Good luck, Ray. —New York Post
MEET THE RESISTANCE: Erin Reed looks at the lawmakers standing up to hate in legislatures across the country in her excellent Substack, Erin In The Morning. You should subscribe!
INDIANA ANTI-TRANS BILL LIKELY DEAD: House Bill 1407 would have banned courts from removing transgender children from their parents based only on parent refusal to seek gender-affirming care or otherwise support transitions, and provided “parental rights” to parents who oppose their children’s gender transitions. —Indiana Capital Chronicle
TENNESSEE SENATE APPROVES ANTI-TRANS BILL: This bill, if signed into law, would cost the state more than $1 billion in federal funding and $750 million in grants, according to WBIR-TV
KENTUCKY PROPOSED BAN ON GENDER AFFIRMING CARE EXPANDS: Now House Bill 470 also bans teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation and forces districts to create restroom policies for transgender students.—WLEX-TV
REPUBLICAN FORMER LAWMAKER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST BILL: WKRC-TV
OP-ED COLUMNIST CALLS EXPANDED BILL “CRUEL:” Lexington Herald-Leader
OSCAR WINNER JAMIE LEE CURTIS SHOWS SUPPORT FOR HER OUT TRANS DAUGHTER WITH ACADEMY AWARD STATUETTE: Variety
CURTIS’ OSCAR WIN HAS SPARKED BACKLASH, WITH MANY CALLING SNUB OF ANGELA BASSETT “RACIST:” BuzzFeed
OTHERS CALL BASSETT “A SORE LOSER:” Fox News (Consider the source!)
I LOVE WHAT THE ROOT WROTE: “We don’t need an Oscar to know who our one true queen is.” —The Root
AARON RODGERS: IS HE PLAYING THE VICTIM IN NFL TRADE? USA Today
JA MORANT SUSPENDED 8 GAMES, SAYS GUN WASN’T HIS: CBS Sports
This Is The Way (Contains Star Wars Spoilers!)
WHAT WAS THAT? No, seriously: WTF? Honestly, I dunno. After watching episode three of The Mandalorian, titled The Convert, I am beginning to think producers Jon Favreau, Rick Famuyiwa and Dave Filoni are either geniuses or really bad storytellers. The vibe I get is that they like going off on wild tangents, whether they pay off many weeks from now or not.
In Boba Fett, The Mandalorian suddenly appeared and took over the show for weeks, which, let’s be honest, was actually more entertaining than watching Boba. Now, a minor character from the first two seasons of this show is back in the third episode of season three, and the vast majority of this week’s episode is about him, Dr. Pershing, played with extraordinary depth by Omid Abtahi.
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Grogu and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) get just a brief but action-packed scene at the beginning and a climactic scene at its end. It just seems so… disconnected, although I hope it makes sense eventually. We’ll just have to wait and PLEASE GIVE US MORE GROGU, LESS EVERYTHING ELSE. There, I said it! I feel better now. —Collider and RadioTimes have more about The Convert
Star Trek Corner
WILL BEN SISKO EVER RETURN TO STAR TREK? Den of Geek speculates.
WHICH CHARACTER DOES CAPT. LIAM SHAW “FANGIRL” OVER? Theories from GiantFreakinRobot that could be right on target or wildly off-base. Let me know what you think in the comments!
PART FIVE OF STAR TREK PICARD, IMPOSTERS, STREAMING RIGHT NOW! Watch a preview on YouTube here
HOW TO VIEW THE ENTIRE SEASON AND PAST STAR TREK EPISODES: Click here to subscribe to Paramount+
That’s all for today. I’ll be back Sunday night with your Bedtime Stories. Until then… may your news be good news!
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