Pills, Politics, and Pence

Rafia Zakaria in The Baffler:

IT WAS HIGH TIME for someone to throw Mike Pence a bone. It arrived on April 7, hurled all the way from Texas. On that day, Matthew Kacsmaryk, a U.S. District Court judge, issued a bizarre but consequential ruling that sought to halt the use of mifepristone, which is part of a two-drug regimen to induce a medical abortion. Kacsmaryk, a judge in northern Texas who was appointed by former president Donald Trump, took issue with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone twenty-three years ago. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit took on the case soon after, narrowing some of Kacsmaryk’s ruling but also questioning the FDA’s efforts in recent years to ensure easier access to the pill. They issued a preliminary ruling, with a full-case appeal to come.

Pence, who lives in a McMansion in a tony Indianapolis suburb, excitedly caught the bone from Texas in his teeth. The former vice president, who is trying to position himself as the great hope of evangelicals in the GOP presidential race, took to the airwaves prepped with all the talking points he had been dying to use. On CBS’s Face the Nation he declared that he wanted the abortion pill “off the market.” It was an A-plus performance, with Pence frowning and extrapolating on how problematic he found the FDA’s approval of the drug twenty-three years ago, as if it had been on his mind every day since. Finally, to make sure that he was also pinning blame on the Biden administration as evangelical enemy number one, he decried current policies that have permitted the drug to be obtained through the mail.

More here.