Sen. Bill Cassidy Calls Reaction to Mifepristone Dispute ‘Totally Alarmist’

  • GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy said the concern over mifepristone and the FDA’s authority is “totally alarmist.”
  • Cassidy said the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision returned decisions on abortion laws back to the states.
  • Meanwhile, his GOP colleagues are actively working to implement nationwide abortion bans.

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy called public reaction to the ongoing legal dispute over the abortion medication mifepristone and the FDA’s authority “totally alarmist” on Sunday. 

The Louisiana senator also insisted that decisions on abortion laws had been returned to the states after last year’s Supreme Court decision. Yet members of his own party have publicly called for nationwide limits on abortion.

On the NBC News show “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Cassidy about concerns that a ruling by a Texas judge earlier this month — which declared the FDA’s decades-old approval of mifepristone unlawful — could upend the federal agency’s authority.

“I think that’s totally alarmist,” Cassidy said on Sunday. “I also think that the FDA should not be above the law.”

The Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked the Texas federal judge’s decision, allowing time for justices to consider the case. In the meantime, people can still obtain mifepristone. 

“I think the broader question is how do you resolve the issues in general. I think that returning it to the states to allow a state’s values to guide is very important,” Cassidy said, adding that states with progressive abortion laws can “keep their law, and we keep our law, and that’s the way it’s going to work out nationally.”

Cassidy added that the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which found that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion, returned the question of abortion to the states.

“I think Dobbs is the uncomfortable middle ground, where people will confront that there is a diversity of opinion. And no one group has the ability to impose their will upon the other,” Cassidy said.

If the Supreme Court allows the mifepristone ruling to stand, however, it would affect all states. And Cassidy’s colleagues in the Republican Party have repeatedly called for nationwide bans or limits on abortion. 

In September, after weeks of arguing that individual states “should decide the issue of abortion,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said abortion was  “not a states’ rights issue” and proposed a national abortion ban that would bar the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Sen. Tim Scott, who is considering a run for president in 2024, last week said if he were elected, he would “literally sign the most conservative, pro-life legislation” that Congress can pass.

“I’m not going to talk about six or five or seven or ten,” Scott said when NBC News pressed him on when the federal cutoff on abortion should be. “I’m just saying that whatever the most conservative legislation is that can come through Congress.”

Cassidy – who once supported a 20-week ban, according to NBC –  maintained on Sunday that Dobbs was the “correct decision.”

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