1/ A federal judge in Texas heard arguments in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the FDA’s approval of the pills used in medication abortions. The abortion-inducing pill known as mifepristone is used in more than half of the abortions in the U.S. The lawsuit alleges that the FDA did not adequately evaluate mifepristone’s safety before it approved the drug in 2000, and argues that the FDA should not have made the medication accessible via telehealth during the pandemic. The FDA, which took more than four years to approve mifepristone, said it approved the drug after “a thorough and comprehensive review of the scientific evidence presented and determined that it was safe and effective for its indicated use.” U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by Trump and and is known for his conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage, took the unusual step of intentionally delaying the public notice of today’s planned hearing, citing a “barrage of death threats and protesters” and his interest in avoiding a “circus-like atmosphere.” Kacsmaryk said he would issue his ruling as soon as possible, which is expected to be appealed and could eventually reach the Supreme Court. (Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post / NPR / Wall Street Journal)
2/ South Carolina Republican lawmakers are considering legislation that would make a person who has an abortion eligible for the death penalty. The South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act would “ensure that an unborn child who is a victim of homicide is afforded equal protection under the homicide laws of the state.” The bill defines a “person” as an “unborn child at every stage of development from fertilization until birth.” While the bill provides some exceptions to save the life of the pregnant person or if they were “compelled to do so by the threat of imminent death or great bodily injury,” it provides no exceptions for rape or incest. (NBC News / Rolling Stone / USA Today / The Hill)
3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute,” saying protecting the European nation’s borders is not a “vital” U.S. interest. DeSantis’s view on Ukraine policy, which is now aligned with Trump’s, is a reversal from his earlier support for arming Ukraine in 2015 after Russia annexed Crimea. Some top congressional Republicans, however, have argued that a sovereign Ukraine is in the long-term interests of the U.S. and that Biden should be doing more to help Ukraine, framing Putin’s invasion as a fight to defend the post-World War II international security framework. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
4/ A pro-Trump super PAC filed an ethics complaint against Ron DeSantis, accusing him of waging a “shadow presidential campaign” in violation of state ethics and election laws. DeSantis, who is expected to announce a 2024 presidential bid, is seen as Trump’s biggest competition in the Republican primary. The super PAC, MAGA Inc., wants the Florida Commission on Ethics to impose the “most severe penalties permitted” — including disqualifying him from the ballot. (NBC News / CNBC / Associated Press / Bloomberg)
- Trump prepares an extensive opposition file on “Ron DeSanctimonious.” An early look inside Trump’s operation into his rival for the nomination reveals nothing is off the table. (Politico)
poll/ 59% of Republican voters prefer a 2024 presidential primary nominee who agrees with their views on major issues. 41% prefer a GOP nominee who has a strong chance to beat Biden. (CNN)
poll/ 46% of Republican voters support Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, while 32% support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Trump led DeSantis 42% to 36% in February’s poll. (Quinnipiac)
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