GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski Criticizes Texas Ruling Suspending Abortion Drug

GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski Criticizes Texas Ruling Suspending Abortion Drug

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Monday criticized a U.S. district judge’s unprecedented ruling suspending approval of a drug that is most widely used for abortion care and miscarriage in the United States.

“After 20 years of FDA approval that he would be questioning a woman’s ability again to have a say over her reproductive health, I’m quite concerned about it,” Murkowski told HuffPost.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, one of two drugs used in medication abortion, in 2000. It’s been safely used by millions of pregnant Americans for over two decades.

But earlier this month, right-wing Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas said that the FDA rushed the approval process for mifepristone in order to “greenlight elective chemical abortions on a wide scale.” He ordered its suspension nationwide.

The matter is now being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has put Kacsmaryk’s order on hold until it can consider the case. A separate federal judge in Washington state also issued a competing ruling this month that blocked the FDA from removing mifepristone from the market in 17 states and the District of Columbia, where abortion is legal.

Murkowski, one of two GOP senators who support abortion rights (along with Susan Collins of Maine), voted with nearly every one of her colleagues to confirm Kacsmaryk after he was nominated by President Donald Trump.

Asked Monday if she would still support him today, the Alaska Republican said she “probably” would not.

“When I had an opportunity to look at his record and vetted him, he demonstrated to me he had the credentials as a judge,” Murkowski said, noting that she also voted to confirm the federal judge who issued the competing order in Washington state.

Kacsmaryk’s credibility has come into question in recent days. According to an article in The Washington Post, he took his name off a 2017 Texas Review of Law and Politics article and failed to disclose his work on the article to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which requires nominees to disclose all publications by nominees before the panel. The article criticized protections added during the Barack Obama administration for transgender people and those seeking abortions.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he didn’t approve of hiding information from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I don’t think anybody should do that, but I haven’t independently verified that information or looked into it,” Cornyn, a member of the panel, told reporters on Monday. “The process only works if we have candor and truthful answers, so that’s significant.”

Still, it’s not like Kacsmaryk’s anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion views weren’t known publicly before his nomination. Collins, the lone Republican who opposed Kacsmaryk’s nomination, warned about his far-right views in a statement in 2019:

A number of Mr. Kacsmaryk’s writings and interviews indicate an alarming bias against the rights of LGBTQ Americans and disregard for Supreme Court precedents. For example, Mr. Kacsmaryk has dismissed proponents of reproductive choice as “sexual revolutionaries,” and disdainfully criticized the legal foundations of Roe v. Wade. He has described the “campaign for same-sex marriage” as “typified by lawlessness,” and he has derided the Supreme Court’s Obergefell opinion.

Such extreme statements reflect poorly on Mr. Kacsmaryk’s temperament and suggest an inability to respect precedent and to apply the law fairly and impartially.


Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.