MRC's Anti-Abortion Extremists vs. The Abortion Pill
The Media Research Center cheered efforts by its fellow right-wing anti-abortion activists to use the courts to overturn a regulatory decision to approve an abortion pill.
By Terry Krepel
The Conservative legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday over the FDA’s illegal approval of abortion pills. The group represents four healthcare organizations and four doctors in the first lawsuit of its kind.
As ConWebWatch pointed out when the MRC's then-"news" division CNSNews.com similarly promoted the ADF's lawsuit, the abortion pill is much safer than pregnancy.
When the Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to allow pharmacies to provide the pills for anyone who has a prescription, Alex Christy complained in a Jan. 4 post:
The morning shows of ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN saw nothing controversial about the FDA’s new policy that allows pharmacies to provide abortion pills to anyone with a prescription.
Later that day, Mandelburg served up her own rant against the new FDA policy:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday that it would permit retail pharmacies to offer abortion pills in the United States. From “corner drugstores to major chains,” obtaining a pill to end the life of a child just got that much easier, The New York Times reported.
Again, Mandelburg failed to tell her readers the fact that pregnancy kills more women than the abortion pill does.
Tim Graham even whined about it in his Jan. 4 podcast: "Then there are the pro-abortion hardliners in the Biden administration, with the Food and Drug Administration pushing for abortion pills to be more broadly available in pharmacies to make abortions more plentiful. The networks announce this news as if it's utterly non-ideological, non-political, and non-controversial. There is no pro-life view on abortion pills that anyone needs to hear."
When PBS had on a doctor who pointed out the safety of abortion pills, Graham spent a Jan. 7 post raging at both PBS and the doctor, bizarrely calling the pill's safety a "creepy talking points":
On Wednesday's PBS NewsHour, viewers received a bucket of happy talk about medication abortions from Dr. Jennifer Villavicencio. Twice, she insisted the use of mifepristone was "extraordinarily safe" -- but it's not safe for the unborn baby, who is expelled from the mother and killed.
What Graham didn't do, of course, is go beyond spouting right-wing anti-abortion talking points to try and disprove Villavicencio.
Mandelburg spewed more rage at abortion pills in a Jan. 18 post:
Isn’t it great when people we pay good money to do their jobs don’t know how to do their jobs?!
Graham clearly did not order his subordinate Mandelburg to practice what he preaches to non-right-wing media and offer up an opposing view. Heck, Mandelburg didn't even disclose the right-wing tilt of National Review. And, again, Mandelburg censored the fact that abortion pills are much safer for women than pregnancy -- she has a narrative to perpetuate, after all.
Her rage increased in a Jan. 23 post:
New York just became the first city in the United States to offer free abortion pills at public clinics.
Thanks, Tierin-Rose, for admitting that you believe women who have abortions are committing murder, which means you also presumably demand that women who have abortions be arrested, imprisoned and even executed for having one. Not that you'll admit that publicly, of course -- don't want to look too much like the extremist you are, right?
Mandelburg ranted in a Feb. 24 post:
Isn’t it great when the leaders of our country lie to us? Okay, this is about Kamala Harris so "leader" is too strong a word. Still, she's the vice president, so can't we expect a modicum of honesty from her?
Graham went on another tirade against the pill three days later: "For more of the pro-life case about the dangers of mifepristone abortions, see the Charlotte Lozier Institute report. But again, they're describing killing a baby as 'safe and effective.' It's not like taking a Tylenol. It's like taking rat poison that kills your somehow un-human baby."
In a March 6 post, Mandelburg defended anti-abortion activists threatening pharmacies into being afraid to dispense abortion pills even though they are still legal for now:
The SCOTUS Dobbs decision returned the question of abortion legality to the individual states. But now the White House is encouraging private companies to break state laws and sell abortion pills in states where they are illegal.
She then parroted right-wing rhetoric against the pills when White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the activism:
Interesting, then, why a group of doctors and medical groups are suing to overturn the FDA’s approval of the drug. Why? Because it's incredibly dangerous. Not only does it end at least one child’s life but the drug is also harmful to the mother. It facilitates an up to 30-day process of contracting, bleeding and cramping and is “four times more dangerous” than surgical abortions. As a matter of fact, the lette rto the FDA mentioned that these drugs increased abortion-related ER visits by 500x from 2002-2015. So no, KJP, the fact that these pills have been around for so long doesn’t mean that they are safe.
The next day, Clay Waters complained about PBS and NPR offering factual information about how to obtain the pills:
Who says the liberal media is anti-business? Taxpayer-assisted PBS and National Public Radio are eager to promote at least one product: Companies that mail the pregnancy-terminating pill mifepristone across state lines to states where abortion is being made illegal, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. And a pro-life group is suing claiming the FDA wrongly approved the pill. Now, tax-funded media outlets are giving out tips for getting abortion pills.
A March 9 post by Nicholas Fondacaro complained that the pills were talked about on "The View":
With Walgreens announcing that they will stop selling certain brands of abortion pills in states that prohibit them, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom launched a campaign against them with what the pharmacy chain called “false and misleading information.” Of course, the liberals of ABC’s The View adhered to Newsom’s marching orders and opened Thursday’s show by parroting his talking points, later being forced to read a legal note with Walgreens’ response to the lies.
Fondacaro didn't mention how he and his fellow MRCers were parroting right-wing talking points against the pills.
A March 17 column by Graham was filled with anti-abortion spin, starting with insisting on maliciously calling abortion pills "homicide pills":
In the same way, it sounds cruel to report that supporters of the pill “say it’s safe and effective,” when it’s obviously not safe for the baby. MSNBC’s Joy Reid touted “the extremely safe and effective medication is used to induce abortion and to manage miscarriage or early pregnancy loss, which can, by the way, be life-threatening.” Mifepristone isn’t “life-threatening”?
If Graham is going to insist on using the "homicide pill" line, he should also be demanding that every woman who has ever had an abortion be arrested and imprisoned -- maybe even executed -- for murder. But he's clearly afraid to take his rhetoric to its logical endpoint. Nevertheless, Graham repeated his incendiary logic in a March 26 post whining about fact-checkers who pointed out that abortion pills are, yes, safe and effective:
"Independent fact-checkers" sound like they're funded by Planned Parenthood. Have you ever noticed that leftists who want to ruin someone's career for "misgendering" someone who's in denial of their true gender endlessly demean unborn babies as "a pregnancy"? Why is that terminology not seen as ideological and dehumanizing?
He concluded by ranting that the fact-checkers "were all babies the size of a kidney bean once. Now they favor the side of crushing the unwanted babies into hummus."
Favorable court decision
When a Trump-appointed judge approved a ban on them over alleged problems with the FDA approval process, the MRC defended the ruling and attacked anyone who criticized it. Alex Christy complained in an April 8 post:
Friday’s edition of CNN Tonight reacted to the news that a federal judge suspended the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone with horror, claiming the judge was inserting his “theological opinion” and seriously wondering why pro-lifers don’t target drugs like Viagra or Tylenol.
Yet we don't recall Christy ever calling Tylenol a "chemical" when he takes one for a headache. Christy then huffed that mifepristone shouldn't be treated the same as other drugs, because abortion:
It’s one thing for CNN liberals to not understand pro-lifers, but the Republican strategist should know the difference between abortion and Viagra, Tylenol, and penicillin. It should also be noted that Kacsmaryk did not outright ban mifepristone, he simply said the FDA didn’t follow proper bureaucratic procedure.
In an April 9 post, Kevin Tober raged at NBC's Chuck Todd for pointing out the judge's partisan activism:
On Easter Sunday, NBC's Chuck Todd used the opening segment of his show Meet the Press to lash out at political activists for apparently causing a Texas court to order the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to halt the approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. Todd was clearly upset at the ruling and claimed there was no reason for a challenge to the use of the drug since it has been approved since the "end of Bill Clinton's presidency." As if that matters. It's obvious that Todd sees no problem with defending a demonic drug that kills the unborn on a religious holiday. We all know the leftist media is Godless, but Todd made it all too obvious.
Tober's reference to "evil procedures" gives away the game that this legal action is driven by partisan activism and not medical concerns. He then whined that another judge issued a ruling to preserve the status quo on the drug:
Todd ended by noting that "obviously the Supreme Court has to weigh in on this one."
Tober didn't explain why Kacsmaryk's ruling must be considered so perfect that it shouldn't even be appealed -- but then, he's a partisan activist, not a legal expert.
When the (conservative-controlled) Supreme Court issued a stay of Kacsmaryk's ruling, the MRC didn't take it very well. Christy used an April 22 post to effectively argue that the lives of women are worth less than that of a fetus:
Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joined CNN This Morning Weekend on Saturday to react to the Supreme Court issuing a full stay on Friday night that allows the abortion pill mifepristone to remain on the market by repeating one of the network’s favorite and silliest talking points: mifepristone is “way, way less deadly” than Viagra.
Mandelburg raged against the Supreme Court in an April 24 post using anti-abortion talking points instead of facts:
Last week, less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the court debated the decades-long decision of the FDA to approve a chemical abortion drug called mifepristone for sale at retail pharmacies. Unfortunately, despite the FDA’s inadequate research, the Supreme Court ruled to keep mifepristone on the market.
Tim Graham spent a May 11 post complaining that a Reuters article on mifepristone accurately identified conservatives as conservatives, going on to grumble further about more accurate reporting: "Reuters also employed the usual formulation on the science: 'Scientific studies have overwhelmingly concluded that the drug, which has been used by millions of women, is safe.' Safe for aborting women, but 'scientific studies' apparently don't consider the unborn baby to be a human, or someone whose safety you consider. That's liberal thinking, but there are no 'liberals' identified in this story."
For a May 17 post, Tober bizarrely chose to interpret a news story as a guide to breaking the law:
How desperate were the cast of CBS Mornings to promote the left’s abortion-on-demand agenda? Well, the fact that they were openly promoting an abortionist in Amsterdam who openly admits to providing abortion pills to women seeking abortions in American states where it was illegal. Even openly advertising how their viewers can get illegal abortions wasn’t off-limits for the leftist media.
Tober is spouting the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, regularly used in the ConWeb to falsely assume that because a news outlet runs a particular story, it endorses the content of that story.
Mandelburg spent an Aug. 17 post cheering a right-wing appeals court for largely upholding Kacsmaryk's ruling, as well as effectively writing a press release for the ADF:
Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group of medical professionals condemned the negligence of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and said it should be “illegal” to distribute the abortion pill. ADF claimed the FDA didn’t adequately evaluate the abortion drug's safety and urged officials to take it off the market. On August 16, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FDA must restore crucial safeguards around chemical abortion drugs.
Mandelburg failed to mention that anti-abortion extremists like herself and the ADF want to outlaw surgical abortion as well,making her complaint about its relative efficacy something of a moot point. She also failed to identify the right-wing ideology of the ADF. Instead, she praised the ruling some more:
The court’s ruling will prohibit abortion providers from sending abortion drugs via the mail where women can take them without any medical support or knowledge. It also ruled that the 2016 move by the FDA, which allowed the abortion drug to be taken from seven to 10 weeks gestation and loosened restrictions on obtaining said drugs, was a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Fifth Circuit reinstated “the original 2000 safeguards, including the seven weeks’ gestational limitation, necessary office visits, non-fatal adverse event reporting, and physician dispensation,” ADF reported.
Mandelburg continued being disingenuous by cheering how the ADF is using the courtroom to achieve what it couldn't through the legislative process -- something right-wingers like those who work at the MRC and ADF have long criticized when liberals supposedly did it.