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The Supreme Court just ruled that abortion pills can stay on the market



A conventional, effective and safe abortion pill can remain on the market for now, the Supreme Court ruled Friday night in the first major Supreme Court ruling on abortion since the judges overturned the ruling against Roe. Wade last year.

Judges Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two of the most hard-line right-wingers in the predominantly conservative court, publicly disagreed with the court’s ruling.

Over the past few weeks, mifepristone, one of two drugs commonly used for medical abortion in the United States, has taken center stage in the nation’s relentless abortion war. Although the vast majority of studies have shown mifepristone to be safe, anti-abortion activists petitioned federal courts to withhold FDA approval of the drug in 2000.

Judge Matthew Kaczmarik, appointed by former President Donald Trump, originally agreed to do it on April 7. However, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit found April 12 that it is too late to withhold FDA approval of mifepristone. Instead, this federal appeals court ruled to impose severe restrictions on mifepristone, including requiring it to be received in person and relabeling it for use only up to seven weeks of pregnancy, not up to 10.

Separately, a Washington state judge ordered 17 states and Washington, D.C. to maintain access to mifepristone “regardless” of the decision of the 5th Circuit court. This order created a direct conflict between the federal courts.

But the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to suspend any court rulings that could change the availability of mifepristone, and the judges agreed. Instead, mifepristone will remain on the market unrestricted while the case goes through the courts.

Alito, who wrote the opinion rebutting Rowe, argued in his dissent Friday that the administration failed to demonstrate that it would suffer “irreparable harm” if restrictions were put in place. He also accused the FDA of using conflicting district court rulings to create a climate of “regulatory chaos” given the FDA’s failure to appeal the court’s decision in Washington, and suggested that it’s not even clear whether the FDA will enforce the lawsuit to change its approach to mifepristone.

“The government has not dispelled legitimate doubts that in these cases it will obey even an unfavorable order, let alone that it will choose to take coercive measures against which it has serious objections,” Alito wrote, arguing that the FDA has “enforcement discretion”. ”

Had the judges not acted, the mifepristone restrictions would have taken effect at 11:59 pm ET Friday.


Transcript: Former Vice President Mike Pence on Face the Nation, April 23, 2023



Below is the full transcript of an interview with former Vice President Mike Pence that aired on Face the Nation on April 23, 2023.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The issue of abortion is likely to play a role in the 2024 election. Yesterday, our Robert Costa went to Iowa and spoke with one of the potential Republican candidates, former Vice President Mike Pence, and asked him about the court’s decision.


MIKE PENCE: You know, I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for this. I think the fact that the Biden administration allowed mail-order mifepristone was a fundamental change. Even in states where abortion is restricted. I would like this medicine to be taken off the market to protect the unborn. But I’m also — I’m deeply concerned about how the FDA approved mifepristone 20 years ago. I am grateful that action is being taken in the courts to hold the FDA accountable for what the law requires in reviewing any drug that is made on the market. So for the sake of protecting the unborn, and for the health and safety of women, I – I’m looking forward to this – continue this lawsuit and hold the manufacturers of mifepristone accountable. And ultimately, put the interests of women first.

ROBERT COSTA: The FDA disputes claims that it’s unsafe, saying serious complications are rare and less than 1 percent of patients need to be hospitalized. This is their position.

PENCE: Well, I understand that, Robert, but under the Obama administration, the FDA actually stopped chronicling the nonfatal results of mifepristone. And one of the things that I hope will change in this trial is that the FDA is going back to telling the American people about all the health implications. But I believe this issue is about women’s health and safety, and we need to hold the FDA accountable to the law.

ROBERT COSTA: This is a very, very relevant issue for the Republican Party right now. There is a real discussion going on. Anti-abortion activist Marjorie Dannenfelser said that anyone who adheres to former President Trump’s position that states should decide what to do about abortion, she called this position morally indefensible. Do you agree?

PENCE: The cause of restoring the integrity of life at the center of American law is the calling of our times. The Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs case last June gave the American people a fresh start in life. He brought the issue of abortion back to the states and the American people. But he didn’t just return it exclusively to the states. And in this I do not agree with the former president. This is not just a state decision. We have elected representatives to the United States Congress and will elect a President again in 2024. And I think the American people would welcome the minimum national standard in Washington, DC, 15 weeks.

ROBERT COSTA: Is former President Trump backing down on abortion?

PENCE: Well, I would… I would leave it to others.

ROBERT COSTA: What do you think?

PENCE: You can ask him…

ROBERT COSTA: Your top aide, Mark Short, has officially announced that former President Trump is resigning.

PENCE: Well…I…I…that’s…that’s a great question for him. I am very proud to have served as vice president in the administration that appointed three justices to the Supreme Court that ruled in Roe v. Get into the dustbin of history. But Robert, we are now in a new season, and I think that millions of pro-life Americans want us to take every opportunity to put the interests of the unborn first and also, equally, to demonstrate the generosity and compassion of the American people to women who have been forced to have abortions in the past 50 years, and to women who are having crisis pregnancies today.


ROBERT COSTA: There’s been an upsurge of gun violence in recent weeks, and sometimes legitimate gun owners shoot people who walk up to their door, in their driveway, in the parking lot. What is happening in America and can anything be done to reduce the fear and violence?

MIKE PENCE: Well, our… our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the incidents in Kansas City and upstate New York. I just can’t imagine the pain they go through in this tragedy, but tragedy shouldn’t require us to lose our freedom. And the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution. I do not know the facts of these cases, I am sure that local law enforcement will move forward and apply the law properly. But I cannot help suspecting that this recent wave of tragedies is indicative of the fear many Americans feel about the wave of crime that is sweeping this country.

ROBERT COSTA: But I think most people would agree that even if you’re afraid of crime in your area, there’s no excuse for just shooting someone at your door or in the parking lot.

PENCE: I can’t imagine the circumstances I read about in the press on any of these occasions. And… and I… I’m sure local law enforcement will hold people to account. I… but I… but at the end of the day, I… I’m just wondering… wondering if this is a reflection of the fear the American people feel about the wave of crime that has swept our country literally from the coast. to the coast.

ROBERT COSTA: You agreed to appear before the special prosecutor…

PENS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA: An ongoing grand jury investigation on January 6th with some restrictions on your testimony. Did you negotiate with the special counsel about your appearance?

PENCE: Well, our… our lawyers settled it with the Justice Department. But I must say that I am grateful to the court that the court has recognized that there are special constitutional protections unique to the vice president when you are in your role as chairman of the Senate. I thought it was important to challenge, for the first time in history, a federal court has recognized that this provision of the Constitution applies to the vice president, and they have limited what they will require of me, but much more than what I can say–

ROBERT COSTA: Help us understand this a little…

PENCE: –you Robert, we… we will obey the law, we will tell the truth and the story that I have told the American people across the country, the story that I have written in the pages of my memoirs, that will be what I will tell and in this setting.

ROBERT COSTA: But for a layman who is not a lawyer, what do you think are the limits to your forthcoming testimony? Can you, for example, testify, in your opinion, about your private conversations with President Trump. Is that within the scope of what you could do in front of a grand jury?

PENCE: I think I’m limited in what I can say about the grand jury or the judge’s decision, but people can be sure that we will — we will obey the law, we will obey the law. But I have to tell you, Robert, no one has spoken to me about this.

ROBERT COSTA: Fox News just paid Dominion $787 million for false claims that were online. Any reaction?

PENCE: Well, I … I would guess that in this case, Fox News determined what the settlement was appropriate and what the exposure was. I can’t… I can’t talk about it. It wasn’t a period in my life where I watched a lot of TV, Robert, I was focused on the task at hand, focused on doing our duty under the United States Constitution. The role that you, your network and other members of the media play is vital to our democracy. And I will always stand for a free and independent press, even if I don’t agree with what you say or do.

ROBERT COSTA: It’s almost May, when will you decide whether you will run as a Republican?

PENCE: Well, we’re very close. But I don’t have anything to announce today, Robert, but I… promise…

ROBERT COSTA: Will you make a difficult decision by the end of June?

PENCE: I think anyone who is serious about the Republican nomination should be in this contest by June, and…

ROBERT COSTA: So you will make a decision by the end of June?

PENCE: I… I think if… if we make an announcement, it will be long before the end of June.

ROBERT COSTA: Long before that. But do you lean or dodge your run?

PENCE: Robert, I’m here in Iowa.

ROBERT COSTA: That’s a hint.

PENCE: Look, I love this country. And I think America has a lot of problems. And I hear people tell me that the problems we face in an increasingly dangerous world, the problems we face in this economy with inflation at a 40-year high, a crisis on our border, will need someone who can intervene on the first day and return our country to the path of security and prosperity. And so we think very deeply about it. And as I said, I


ROBERT COSTA: Looks like you’re leaning.

PENCE: I don’t have anything to announce today, but…

ROBERT COSTA: You seem to be leaning towards that. Lean towards it, not away from it.

PENCE: I… I would tell you that I’m very flattered by the support we’re getting. And I promise you, when we have something to announce, you’ll be among the first to know.

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Food Stamp Issues Exacerbate Hunger in Alaska



NEEDLE RIVER, Alaska (AP) — Thousands of Alaskans who depend on government assistance have waited months for food stamps, exacerbating a long-standing hunger crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, inflation and the remnants of a typhoon that wiped out fish stocks and fishing tackle.

The backlog, which began last August, is of particular concern in the state, where communities in remote areas, including Alaska Native villages, are often not connected by roads. They have to deliver food by barge or plane, which makes the cost of even basic goods prohibitive. About 13% of the state’s approximately 735,000 residents received Supplemental Food Assistance Program — or SNAP — benefits in July, before the problems started.

“People are struggling and forced to make a choice between getting food or heating fuel,” said Daisy Lockwood Katchik, city administrator in Stebbins, an Alaska Native village of 634 more than 400 miles (644 km) to the northwest. from Anchorage.

Facing food shortages and rampant inflation, the city recently used $38,000 of funds raised for a children’s spring carnival to purchase basic necessities. A community on the west coast of Alaska is also suffering from the effects of the typhoon, which destroyed critical stocks of fish and fishing boats, while at the same time there were problems with the food stamp program.

“My people suffer firsthand,” Katchik said.

Alaskan lawmakers have responded to the state’s lackluster response as lawsuits allege failures in the state’s administration of food stamps and a program that provides assistance to low-income Alaskans who are blind, elderly or disabled.

Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy authorized $1.7 million in aid communities in a state nearly 2.5 times the size of Texas. Lawmakers approved emergency funding to hire staff to deal with mass cases as food banks reported the highest level of demand they have ever seen.

“We know a lot of people who don’t eat several times a day; they’ve been reduced to maybe one meal,” said Anthony Reinert, director of programs at the Food Bank of Alaska. Alaska has always had a baseline hunger level. But over the past six months, it has spread and expanded significantly.”

Alaska’s hunger crisis stems from a perfect storm of cascading events exacerbated by staffing and technology issues within the state’s health department.

During the pandemic, the regular renewal process for SNAP benefits, a federal program run by the states, was suspended. Problems arose after the state. public health emergency ended last July, and the recertification requirements for SNAP were reinstated, resulting in a flurry of applications.

A cyberattack targeting the state health department in 2021 has complicated Alaska’s ability to process applications, said Heidi Hedberg, who was appointed health commissioner late last year. Employees who were supposed to upgrade the department’s key computer systems were recalled to deal with the attack, resulting in the upgrade work not being completed. But 100 jobs that should have been eliminated due to expected efficiency with the upgrade were nonetheless cut, Hedberg said.

In January, the number of applicants seeking to extend food assistance benefits reached 9,104. Officials hope to close the recertification backlog this month and address thousands of new applications, according to the department.

“That’s not how SNAP systems are supposed to work, period,” said Nick Feronti, an attorney representing Alaskans who are suing delays and other issues related to the food stamp program.

Stephanie Duboc is still waiting for help after applying in December. She volunteers at Chugiak-Eagle River Food Pantry in suburban Anchorage and says the food she gets from the pantry is very important.

“Without this help, this would have had a huge impact on my family,” she said.

Among those suing is Rose Carney, 68, who receives $172 a month in aid.

Carney said she received a letter in September saying her benefits had been renewed, but a month later she received another letter saying her application was due the next day. She filled it out but only started receiving benefits last month after contacting a lawyer, she said. Meanwhile, she added water to the bean soup and went into the church pantry to feed herself.

“I was very upset because it was like an income that I depended on, even though it was just food stamps,” Carney said.

Feronti, her lawyer, has 10 clients pursuing class action status, but the case has been put on hold as the parties work on a possible solution that could lead to long-term change.

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice, also involved in the case, filed a similar lawsuit in Missouri, but the situation in Alaska is “emergency,” Saima Akhtar, the center’s attorney, said.

Dunleavy’s $1.7 million in February went to food banks to meet urgent needs, including bulk shopping and bank card distribution so people in rural communities can shop for their own groceries and support local shops.

Reinert at the food bank said about $800,000 was used to buy basic food items such as oatmeal, pasta, beans, canned fruit and long-life cheese at lower prices in Washington state. The goods were then shipped to Alaska for distribution.

These goods are beginning to reach the most needy areas, where the cost of products in the store is astronomical due to the logistical complexity of their delivery.

In Bethel, a central area in southwest Alaska, the Bethel Community Service Fund is feeding about 350 families a month—nearly six times more than before the pandemic. Store-bought milk costs about $12.50 a gallon, while a 20-pound bag of rice costs $62.49 and a 40-pound bag of discount dog food costs $82.49, said Carey Atchuck, the foundation’s food coordinator. security.

It’s cheap compared to the Yupik village of Kwethluk, 12 miles (19 km) from Bethel, where an 18-egg pack can cost almost $17 and a double-pack of peanut butter $25.69.

“When the bottom 48 people face these challenges, they have workarounds, they have neighbors, they have connections, they have the ability to grow their own food. It’s not even an option here,” Reinert said, using a term common in Alaska to refer to contiguous US states.

“So we are very, very dependent and reliable on these systems working to keep light and traffic going here.”


An exercise is reported from Juneau, Alaska.

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Escape from Harvey Weinstein was “a game of cat and mouse,” according to Katherine Kendall.



KATHERINE KENDALL, actress/photographer:

Well, you know, I was a young actress and I had a formal meeting at the Miramax office earlier that day.

And then, at the end of the meeting, which I thought went really well, he invited me to come to the screenings. He said, “Welcome to the Miramax family. You know, come to premieres, shows and so on. In fact, there is one this afternoon. Would you like to come?”

And I said, “Of course.”

And in the end I went to watch a movie with him. The result was just a film, not a screening, but the film “Red Rock in the West.” And, you know, it was right when I had such a nagging feeling that something was going wrong.

And then, after the movie, we walked a few blocks. And he said that he needed to go up to his apartment to get some things and could I just go with him real quick? And I kind of said no, and we talked it back and forth for a minute. There were always some negotiations with him, I tried to defend my position, and then make sure that everything was in order.

I went to his apartment. Once there, we had a long talk about art and cinema. And it seemed to me that he treated me like an intellect.

And I felt that the meeting was going very well, and sort of going on. I didn’t feel safe when I was there. And at some point he got up to go to the bathroom. And he came back in a bathrobe and asked me to give him a massage.

And I was extremely uncomfortable. And I thought, oh my God, no, I don’t like it. And we went back and forth about it.

And then he went to the bathroom again, and this time he came back completely naked. And you know, for me, that has completely changed as well. It just took him to the next location. It was completely disorienting. And I was scared, you know? I was very scared.

And then it became a bit of a cat and mouse game, like how do I get out of there?

And I – it’s hard to understand what someone is trying to do to you when they’re completely naked and they…

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