The Media Are Planting Narrative Ahead Of SCOTUS Abortion Pill Hearing

March 20th, 2024 12:11 AM

There will soon be another high-stakes Supreme Court hearing on abortion and the media have already chosen the narrative terrain on which they wish to engage the matter, framing the argument as over access to abortion pills.

The most succinct version of this frame comes via Norah O’Donnell on the CBS Evening News

NORAH O’DONNELL: The number of abortions in the U.S. topped 1 million last year for the first time in over a decade. More than 60% were medication abortions, using a 2-pill regimen to terminate early pregnancies. The increase is despite the 2022 Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade that allowed 13 states to ban abortion with few exceptions, forcing many women to travel out of state. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next week, in a case that puts access to one of those medications used in abortions at stake. 

Short and sweet: the report faithfully cited the Guttmacher Institute statistics on medication abortions, noted the increase in abortions despite the historic Dobbs opinion, and laid the “stakes” framework for the Supreme Court hearing on Mifepristone.

ABC World News Tonight avoided the subject matter for now, but expect a report soon. 

NBC Nightly News delivered the same information as CBS did, but with more flourish. Correspondent Dasha Burns went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Miami, where the friendly neighborhood abortion doctor touted the convenience of pill abortions. She then found a convenience testimonial from a podcaster. Burns then got the pro-life attorney to preview some of his Supreme Court strategy before making the dramatic “stakes” argument:

The high court now holding the future of this in-demand drug in its hands.

The convenience testimonials were sprinkled with the same Guttmacher Institute statistics cited by CBS’s O’Donnell, which seem to have made the rounds. 

Both reports framed the issue as one of access and convenience. But that’s not what is at issue before the Supreme Court. 

As Vivek Ramaswamy explained during his December town hall with CNN’s Abby Phillip, the Mifepristone hearing is about administrative law and a runaway bureaucracy that appears to have rushed to allow Mifepristone to be dispensed via mail. Watch as Ramaswama resists Phillip’s attempts at steering the debate away from administrative law and towards “ban” language (click “expand”):

ABBY PHILLIP: Let me ask you about a little bit of news. The Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case this term that could potentially restrict access nationwide to a widely used abortion drug called Mifepristone. You oppose abortion, but: do you believe that the court should limit the distribution of this drug nationwide? 

VIVEK RAMASWAMY: So I think this is a question -- it's the job of the Supreme Court- who would’ve ever thought-  to judge the law. This is a case about administrative law, actually. This is less about the abortion question and it's more about, did the FDA exceed the scope of its statutory authority when it approved Mifepristone on an emergency basis? And these emergency approvals are generally reserved for life saving therapies that need to be brought to market quickly. So this is a symptom, Abby, of what's going on in the administrative state. The people who we elect to run the government, they’re not even the ones who actually run the government right now. It's the bureaucrats in those three-letter agencies that are pulling the strings today. So the most important Supreme Court case of our lifetime- and I want people to understand this- came out last term. It's West Virginia versus EPA. That said, if Congress did not expressly give an agency the right to write a regulation, then that's unconstitutional. And so it is my opinion -- it’s the Supreme Court’s that’ll matter but I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court will come down where I am on this. That the FDA exceeded its statutory authority in using an emergency approval to approve something that doesn't fit Congress’ criteria for what actually counts as an emergency approval. So, yes, I hope they follow the law. I hope that's where they come down. And if the people of this country disagree with that, we have a mechanism for that. It’s called the democratic process. Do it through the front door of Congress. 


And there's one thing I’m going to do as the next president: it’s to shut down that fourth branch of government, rescind those unconstitutional federal regulations that Congress never actually passed. And yes, lay off 75% of the federal employee headcount. That’s the answer.

PHILLIP: I want to get to our question, but just before we do that, just so that everyone is clear, you do believe that the Supreme Court should ban mifepristone? 

RAMASWAMY: I believe that the Supreme Court should put the FDA back in its place. That’s- that’s the…

PHILIP: As it relates to…

RAMASWAMY: …question that’s before the Court.

PHILLIP: But as it relates to this question -- 

RAMASWAMY: So I believe they should rule on the law. 

PHILLIP: As it relates to this particular drug…

RAMASWAMY: And as it relates to this particular drug…

PHILLIP: Do you believe that will ultimately result in Mifepristone being banned nationwide? And that’s the correct ruling?

RAMASWAMY: I believe it will result in Mifepristone being taken off the market until they go through the process that’s ordained for every other drug that doesn’t go through emergency approval. 


RAMASWAMY: The FDA should follow the law if the rest of us do, too. It’s a simple thing to ask.

Keep this exchange in mind as the regime media ramp up their abortion advocacy ahead of another pivotal Supreme Court hearing.

Click “expand” to view the full transcript of the aforementioned report as aired on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, March 18th, 2024:

LESTER HOLT: We're back now with the battle over the abortion pill. A new study revealing use of the pill has soared since Roe v. Wade was overturned, just as the Supreme Court prepares to hear another case that could limit access to it. Here’s Dasha Burns.

DASHA BURNS: Tonight, new data revealing there were more than a million abortions in the U.S. last year, the highest number in more than a decade. A big part of that: medication abortion. Research from the Guttmacher Institute shows they accounted for 63% of abortions in 2023, up 10% from 2020. Dr. Charisse Felix has witnessed this first hand at this Planned Parenthood clinic in Miami.

CHARISSE FELIX: You're able to schedule that around your job, around other family obligations, and then there is also the whole added benefit of it not being an- you know, an invasive procedure.

BURNS: The FDA has approved the drug for use at up to ten weeks of pregnancy. And under current rules, allows for providers to prescribe it via telehealth and send it to patients in the mail. That's exactly how CEO and podcast host Erin Gallagher was able to access the abortion pill.

ERIN GALLAGHER: It arrived in my mailbox, and from there it was up to me to decide when and if I wanted to take it. And as I made the decision to do it, it removes so many barriers. 

BURNS: But all that could soon change because of a case before the Supreme Court that could restrict the mailing of abortion pills, require that the drug be provided in-person at a doctor's office, and limit its use up to seven weeks' of pregnancy.

FELIX: Most of our patients are finding out that they're pregnant around seven or eight weeks. 

BURNS: The group behind the lawsuit, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine which is against abortion rights, believes the FDA exceeded its authority when it made the drug more accessible. 

What do you intend to argue before the Supreme Court next week?

ERIK BAPTIST: We're going to explain to the Court, and show how the FDA has unlawfully and recklessly removed commonsense safeguards for women and girls who take abortion drugs. And in particular, we're going to highlight the dangerous nature of what the FDA did in 2021 to authorize mail order chemical abortion without any medical intervention or screening.

BURNS: In court filings, the government states this drug has been deemed safe and effective since 2000, and says the FDA updated the drug's approval as decades of experience have further confirmed the drug’s safety. The high court now holding the future of this in-demand drug in its hands. Dasha Burns, NBC News, Miami, Florida.