Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) on Monday said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should ignore a Texas federal judge’s ruling blocking its approval of mifepristone, a pill that can be used to induce abortion in early pregnancy.
The South Carolina Republican joined several Democrats who have called for the Biden administration to ignore the judge’s ruling.
“I agree with ignoring it at this point,” Mace said on CNN Monday when asked how the Biden administration should approach the ruling. “There are other lawsuits that are happening right now and other states as well over this issue.”
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk on Friday issued a stay that said the FDA improperly rushed the approval of mifepristone 23 years ago. The ruling would shut down the prescribing and distribution of the drug as soon as seven days after his decision.
But almost concurrently, a federal judge in Washington issued a competing ruling that blocks the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of Mifepristone” in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
The issue could eventually reach the Supreme Court.
Mace joined Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) who have called for the Biden administration to ignore the Texas ruling.
“President Biden can and must ignore this ruling and keep mifepristone on the market and accessible for every woman in America,” Wyden said in a tweet on Friday.
“The interesting thing when it comes to a ruling is that it relies on enforcement,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN on Sunday. “And it is up to the Biden administration to enforce, to choose whether or not to enforce a ruling.”
But Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) took a starkly different stance from Mace on Sunday, floating that House Republicans could defund the FDA if the Biden administration refuses to uphold a court ruling.
“If the administration wants to not live up to this ruling, then we’re going to have a problem … it may come to a point where House Republicans on the appropriation side have to defund FDA programs that don’t make sense,” Gonzales said.
Mace, a survivor of sexual assault, has been outspoken against anti-abortion laws and proposals that would not allow exceptions for women who have been raped and warned that the abortion issue is hurting Republicans electorally.
“This is an issue that Republicans have been largely on the wrong side of, we have over the last nine months not shown compassion towards women … The state of South Carolina just a few weeks ago we had some folks in the state legislature that essentially wanted to execute women who had abortions,” Mace said on CNN Monday. “So, we’ve got some extreme views on this issue, but 90 percent of America is somewhere in the middle. And I think that that 90 percent would be okay with listening to the FDA rather than a judge who used an old law that was determined unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.”
Mace appeared to be referring to the Texas judge’s reliance on the Comstock Act, an 1873 “anti-vice” law that aimed to bar the mailing of contraception and anything that could be used for abortion. The law has been narrowed by the courts and Congress since and has not been enforced in decades. Mace also seemingly referenced a 1983 Supreme Court ruling that said a federal regulation prohibiting mailing unsolicited advertisements for contraceptives was unconstitutional.