No Mifepristone Unturned | Crooked Media
SEE POD SAVE AMERICA, LOVETT OR LEAVE IT & STRICT SCRUTINY LIVE SEE POD SAVE AMERICA, LOVETT OR LEAVE IT & STRICT SCRUTINY LIVE
April 11, 2023
What A Day
No Mifepristone Unturned

In This Episode

The Justice Department has appealed a Texas judge’s decision that suspends the FDA’s nationwide approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. Meanwhile, a separate ruling in Washington state would bar the agency from taking the medication off the market in at least 17 states.

 

The Pentagon has launched an investigation after highly classified military documents were leaked online in recent weeks. The materials show sensitive information about the war effort in Ukraine, as well as how the U.S. is spying on some of its allies.

 

And in headlines: ousted Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones was reinstated to the state legislature, Israel’s defense minister officially got his job back, and President Biden hinted at his plans for 2024 during the White House Easter Egg Roll.

 

Show Notes:

 

Crooked Coffee is officially here. Our first blend, What A Morning, is available in medium and dark roasts. Wake up with your own bag at crooked.com/coffee

 

Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crookedmedia/

 

For a transcript of this episode, please visit crooked.com/whataday 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, April 11th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day where if something weird happened on HBO Sunday night, it’s actually none of our business. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, I actually have many things to say. None of them will be said on this podcast. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But you only got like 48 hours or so, and then we’re letting it rip. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I will be talking. [music break]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show. One of the two expelled Tennessee lawmakers is already back on the job. Plus, President Biden may have unexpectedly announced that he’s running for reelection. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: But first, on Friday, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a right wing activist judge in Texas, suspended the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of the two medications used in more than half of all abortions in the U.S.. The ruling is both expected and still shocking given that a judge would suddenly make mifepristone unavailable when it has been on the market for over 20 years. And soon after, a judge in Washington State issued a contrary ruling that prevented the FDA from making changes to mifepristone’s accessibility in 17 states and Washington, D.C., which would maintain access in those places to the drug for those who need it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So a lot’s happening. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s all very confusing. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. So let’s start with the Texas ruling, since that one came down first. Can you tell us what this case is about? Why was this even an issue there? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s a really good question, because, again, this drug was approved in the year 2000. Ever since it was approved in 2000, anti-abortion groups have been trying to take it off the market. In January, a few months after Roe was overturned, the FDA lifted the in-person dispensing requirement, which meant that people could access mifepristone via a telehealth appointment or in the mail. And back in November, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is a really nonsensically named organization, since they are doing the actual opposite of that, filed this lawsuit, which claimed that mifepristone was improperly classified. So that kind of became even more of an issue after the FDA lifted this in-person dispensing requirement. This is a ridiculous lawsuit. Right. But it doesn’t actually really matter because the anti-abortion movement knew that they just needed a lawsuit in this particular district because they wanted this judge to rule because they knew he was going to rule their way. Given that he has this long history of anti-abortion activism. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. It’s a whole strategy. Right. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It sure is, yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That they have been executing. And this judge, who is not a scientist, is basically trying to make a scientific assessment here. Right? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That’s exactly what’s happening. And judges, I have to say, I beat this drum a lot. They often make rulings in cases or on issues where they simply don’t have the expertise necessary. But this one is particularly bad. I mean, one of the worst I can imagine, right? As University of Pittsburgh law professor Greer Donley put it to the Texas Tribune. This is the first time a judge has unilaterally, against the FDA’s objections, removed a drug from the market. And this is a judge who has no scientific expertise overruling the agency that has a ton of scientific expertise. Kacsmaryk basically said that the FDA caved to political pressure when they approved mifepristone again 20 years ago. And he stated in the ruling that, quote, “The lack of restrictions resulted in many deaths and many more severe or life threatening adverse reactions.” However, that is pretty plainly false. As Jennifer Lincoln, an OB-GYN and the head of the reproductive health nonprofit Mayday Health, told Fox, quote, “We know medication abortion overall has 0.5% of risk involved.” So very low. And that’s any risk. Right. And when we talk about the risk of associated deaths, it’s 0.001%. And that statistic includes deaths that are likely not related to the medication abortion itself. So if medication abortion is so dangerous that it shouldn’t be legal, you know what really shouldn’t be legal? Giving birth at all– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Well. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –because that is much more likely to kill you. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Well, you make a point. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I make a point. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Or two or three if I do say so myself. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Thank you. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You mentioned that after the Texas ruling, another judge ruled that the FDA must protect access to mifepristone. Where did that ruling come from and what does it say? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, so that ruling came from Thomas Rice, another federal judge in Washington state, and it basically ruled that the FDA is prevented from, quote, “altering the status quo as it relates to mifepristone in 17 states and D.C..” Those are the states that actually filed this lawsuit, right? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: He correctly stated that judges are actually not in the position to determine whether a drug is safe for consumption or not, because that is the job of the FDA, which is why it’s called the Food and Drug Administration. [laughter] And why it’s full of scientists who make these determinations, not judges who don’t know what they’re talking about. Another thing that’s going on is that after the Texas ruling, the DOJ filed an appeal in that case. So now there is yet another thing that happening that threatens that ruling. There’s the Texas ruling, whole country, this Washington state ruling, 17 states and D.C., the DOJ appeal. A lot’s going on. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. So a lot’s going on. But now what? Where do we go from here with these conflicting rulings? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, the FDA is basically in like an impossible position right now. Right. They’ve been told two different things. And so we now basically have to wait for a higher court to clarify the law since right now two contradictory rulings exist. So the Fifth Circuit, which is pretty conservative, may end up ruling on this. But either way, this case is going to end up in front of the Supreme Court. It’s just a matter of time. And as we know, the Supreme Court not really great on reproductive health, although I do think there’s some likelihood that this case may come out better than Dobbs. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Because this idea that judges know better than the FDA is a pretty clear one to reject or easier one to reject for a conservative Supreme Court. But it could really go either way. And this is not a court that particularly cares about science [laughter] or rules so you know. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And we’ve seen stranger things happen. So we’ll just cross our fingers and hope they get it right this time, you know? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: We can only hope. And in another story involving the Department of Justice, apparently there is a trove of classified documents from the Pentagon that’s been floating on the Internet for at least a few weeks. Photos of top secret governmental documents were posted on the messaging platform Discord early last month, but they only recently gained more attention after someone reposted a portion of the documents to 4chan, which is, you know, where the extremists like to hang out and, you know, kick their feet back and do their whole extremism thingamajigey. Um. And so over the weekend, the DOJ acknowledged that they’ve actually launched an investigation into the leak to figure out who’s behind it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. So my instinct is to say that I’m like kind of pro leak.

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Very anti-4chan. I mean, [laughter] leaks can be good, leaks can be good. Leaks can be good. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: They can be. Absolutely. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s start with like what are the documents about? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Um. Spoiler alert. Not sure if this was a good leak, but I’ll let you make your own decision. Okay. So the docs have spilled so much of our government’s tea. CNN has reviewed 53 items, but there could be more. And here’s just a sampling of some of the info. So some of the materials reveal that the U.S. has been spying on a number of our allies like South Korea and Israel. For example, one document alleges that Israel’s intelligence agency is actually encouraging protests against the country’s new government, which is not good in any sense of the word. Another document details a convo between two senior South Korean officials about their concerns over ammunitions request by the U.S. to help Ukraine in the war against Russia. They basically were trying to figure out a way around this rule that they have in South Korea about not supplying lethal aid to countries at war. But they knew that if they gave the ammunitions to the U.S., that the U.S. would be giving them to Ukraine. So there’s all of that. And speaking of Russia, other documents revealed that the U.S. has actually infiltrated the communications of Russia’s Ministry of Defense, as well as the Russian mercenary organization, the Wagner Group, which Putin certainly won’t be happy about. They also showed that the U.S. has also intercepted Russia’s targeting plans before down to the exact power plants, electric substations and railroad and vehicle bridges that Russian forces planned to attack inside Ukraine and when. Then there are the documents that detailed various particulars about Ukraine’s military operations that have already been so compromising that Ukraine has made some alterations to whatever they had planned as the Russian invasion approaches the 14th month mark. So as you might imagine, they’re saying that this could all be, you know, a huge threat to the U.S.’s national security, though the exact impact is not yet clear. But I imagine that some of these details coming out is probably not great. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: This is wild. This is a lot of stuff in just 53 documents. I feel like I just took a whole history class. So do we know, like, who leaked this? What’s going on? Like, where did this come from? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So there’s speculation all over the place. Some say that Russia, or at least pro-Russia elements could be behind the leak. One such reason being that, you know, beyond the obvious antagonism between Russia and the U.S., one of the documents which estimated the death toll of Russian soldiers throughout the war was actually altered. Right. So there’s like the original version that’s online, and then there’s an altered version in which the number of Russian soldiers that are said to have died is significantly lower than the original. And, you know, as we know, officials over there love to lie about the reality of things. So there’s that theory. And then there’s another theory that the leak could have come from one of the countries in the so-called five eyes. This is something I just learned about with this story. But the Five Eyes is apparently a multilateral pact between the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, where they share a broad range of intelligence information. And so the idea is that perhaps someone from one of those entities who had access to some of these details might have also leaked it. But the reality is that we just don’t know yet. The DOJ and the Pentagon are pretty tight lipped. All they’ve been saying is that they are doing their investigations. And so, you know, we just kind of have to wait to see what they say. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Well, I do want to say, if anybody from the Pentagon is listening, I did not leak these documents. [laughter] Nobody is dumb enough to give me classified documents [laughter] unless they want them leaked. This is a wild story. I’m interested to see where it’s going. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And I don’t feel great about it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Same, same, same. But that is the latest for now. We’re going to go pay some bills and we will be right back. [music break]. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: At least five people were killed and eight others injured in a shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky yesterday morning. It happened inside an old national bank branch in downtown Louisville. Investigators have identified the 25 year old gunman who was shot dead by police as an employee. Local reports say he had recently been fired. He allegedly livestreamed the deadly attack on Instagram. But according to the Associated Press, META, Instagram’s parent company said they quickly took it down from the platform. The five victims include Juliana Farmer, Jim Tutt, Josh Barrick, Deana Eckhart and Tommy Elliott, a close friend of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. The shooting comes just two weeks after a former student killed three children and three adults at a private elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. It also marks the 15th mass killing in the U.S. this year. 

 

[clip of supporters of Justin Jones] Welcome home! Welcome home!

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You just heard supporters of Nashville Representative Justin Jones welcoming him back to the state capitol yesterday, just days after he and fellow Democrat Justin Pearson were expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives. We told you on Friday’s show that they, along with a third lawmaker, Gloria Johnson, faced expulsion by their Republican colleagues for leading a gun control protest inside the chamberm, following the Nashville Covenant School shooting that Josie just mentioned. Johnson, who is white, narrowly held on to her job while the two Justins who are Black, did not. On Monday, the Nashville Metro Council unanimously voted to reinstate Jones to his seat until a special election can be held. And as soon as he returned to the House floor, Jones actually thanked GOP lawmakers for giving him the boot. 

 

[clip of Justin Jones] No expulsion, no attempt to silence us, will stop us, but only galvanize and strengthen our movement. And we continue to show up in the people’s house. Power to the people. [cheers]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Meanwhile, in the Memphis area, county commissioners are expected to deliberate on Wednesday on a similar move that would reinstate Representative Justin Pearson because, as they say no Justin’s no peace. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Only thing better than him getting reinstated is this pun. [laughter] And getting reinstated is better. The pun is also good. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But the pun is really great. We love it.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: The pun is great. Love it. And speaking of people getting their jobs back, Yoav Gallant is apparently back to serve as Israel’s defense minister. We told you last month he was abruptly fired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for criticizing his controversial plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system, arguing that it would jeopardize Israel’s national security. His termination sparked another massive round of protests which ultimately forced Netanyahu to hit the pause button on the legislation. Netanyahu even announced the reversal in a live TV address on Monday, saying, quote, “I decided to put the differences we had behind us and we will continue to work together for the security of the citizens of Israel.” And security is definitely on Netanyahu’s mind these days because Gallant’s official reinstatement comes amid another violent week within Israel and the occupied West Bank. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yesterday marked the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll, a tradition that dates all the way back to President Rutherford B. Hayes’s administration in 1878. An estimated 30,000 children gathered on the South Lawn for the festivities, the flagship of which is a competitive hard boiled egg roll across the grass. Joe and Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, were there interacting with the public and the White House press pool. In particular, the Today Show’s Al Roker sprung at the opportunity to try to rather awkwardly crack what has thus far been an evasive egg. 

 

[clip of Al Roker] I was just wondering, uh Mr. President, uh will you be uh taking part in the Easter egg rolls uh after planning on after 2024? 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] Well I plan on spend– at least three or four more Easter egg rolls. 

 

[clip of Al Roker] At least three or four more? 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] Maybe. Maybe five. 

 

[clip of Al Roker] Maybe five. 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] Maybe six. What the hell I don’t know. 

 

[clip of Al Roker] Are you are you saying that uh that you would be taking part in our upcoming election in 2024? 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] Well I’ll either I’ll either be rolling an egg or you know being the, you know, the guy who’s pushing them out. 

 

[clip of Al Roker] Come on, help a brother help a brother out. Make some news– 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] No, no. 

 

[clip of Al Roker] –for me here. 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] Well I plan on running now, but we’re not prepared to announce it yet. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, interesting. As far as campaign announcements go, definitely more of a soft scramble than a hard boiled commitment. But from where we’re standing, the president’s intentions are as clear as the crystal on Marianne Williamson’s bedside table. [laughter]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’ve never thought of her bedside crystals before, and I wish I still hadn’t. It’s all Super Mario, sunshine and rainbow roads for Hollywood’s latest video game adaptation as Illuminations, the Super Mario Brothers movie one upped the all time global box office record for an animated movie this past weekend, grossing a whopping $376 million dollars, $205 million of which was in the U.S. alone. It’s also the top debut for a 2023 release so far, beating out Ant-Man and the WASP: Quantumania. That name is too long and I don’t like it, but I’m sure the movie is fine. While the movie is the second adaptation of Nintendo’s favorite little overalled plumbers, it’s the first to be financially successful. The 1993 live action Super Mario Brothers was an infamous box office flop, ending its theatrical run, $27 million dollars in the red. The new animated film features voice performances from Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black and Keegan-Michael Key. But perhaps most important to mention, the beautiful, amazing, perfect runtime of 92 minutes start to finish. That is eight bit music to my ears. It’s 2 minutes over, the closer to 90 minutes we get, the closer to God. That’s all I have to say. [laughter] Has there ever been a more successful movie about plumbers? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Who knows? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Who knows? Who knows? And those are the headlines. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, thwart Bowser and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just what a White House egg roll is and whether or not I can eat it like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

[spoken together] And no spoilers accomplished. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, we really do need to talk about this spoiler era that everyone seems to be in. Just like not giving people time to watch. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true. Honestly, the nice thing to do is to wait at least 24 hours, probably longer. If you don’t want to know what happened on a big TV show, do not get on Twitter. Just don’t do it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Just don’t. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not going to work. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not happening. Uh yi yi. [music break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lantz. Our producers are Itxy Quintanilla and Raven Yamamoto. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.