Women seeking abortions are getting good news from the FDA and bad (? Who knows?) from Donald Trump.
FDA expands access to abortion
The Food and Drug Administration is updating its labeling guidelines for the use of mifepristone, the most commonly used abortion drug in America. The changes are likely to increase access.
[NYT / Sabrina Tavernise]
In updating its original 2000 guidelines, the FDA changed the dosing regimen to recommend two (lower) doses, allowing women to take certain doses of the drug at home, and to take the drug for up to 70 days after conception. .
[The Guardian / Molly Redden]
This is the diet that most doctors have been using for years; in most states, physicians have the right to prescribe the off-label use of abortifacient drugs as they would any other drug.
[The Verge / Kwame Opam]
The new guidelines will, however, have an impact in North Dakota, Ohio and Texas, where state law requires doctors to follow FDA etiquette. Under the old leadership, this effectively discouraged women from having abortions due to the cost of multiple doctor visits.
[Politico / Jennifer Haberkorn]
Of course, for some state lawmakers, the goal of such laws is less about safety and more about restricting abortions — which is why Arizona, at least, has already lined up for a bill explicitly requiring doctors to follow the old FDA guidelines and ignore the news.
[MSNBC / Irin Carmon]
This steady escalation in the arms race against abortion restrictions is the kind of thing the Supreme Court is currently considering in its case regarding Texas law restricting abortion providers. Ultimately, this raises the same question: from when does limiting abortion amount to banning it?
[Reuters / Toni Clarke, Jilian Mincer, and Jon Herskovitz]
Speaking of Abortion: Donald Trump
Donald Trump (to Chris Matthews), March 30, 2016, around 3 p.m. EDT: “The answer is there has to be some kind of punishment.” (“For the wife?”) “Yes.”
[Vox / Emily Crockett]
Donald Trump campaign, March 30, 2016, around 5 p.m. EDT: “The doctor or other person performing this illegal act on a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim.
Despite the denial, however, it looks like the flip-flop on whether to criminally punish women who have abortions could follow Trump for a while. This seems to confirm one of two things that pro-choicers think pro-lifers believe: either that abortion is murder and that women should be punished as murderers, or that since women should not be punished, abortion doesn’t really have to be murder after all.
[Mother Jones / Kevin Drum]
For the pro-life movement as it exists, however, the consensus – that abortion is murder, but that it is not women who commit the murder – is both firm and the product of years of cautious messages to find a broadly supported position. Trump therefore places them in an awkward position.
[Daily Caller / Matt Lewis]
Trump supporters don’t necessarily agree with Trump (at least the 3 p.m. version) on punishment. But, on par with Trump, they don’t let a little thing like trouble get in the way of their support.
[Huffington Post / Igor Bobic]
A drop in the switching basket
The commutations, of which Obama made about 250 in total, are intended to bring the prison sentences of drug offenders convicted under now-outdated federal laws and policies into line with what their sentences would be if handed down today.
250 is a lot of people compared to previous presidents. Trouble is, in 2014 the Obama administration promised a huge new push on commutations, saying it would shorten thousands of sentences this way before President Obama left office.
[Vox / Dara Lind]
It was a big break from Obama’s historically stingy first-term pardon office, run by a man who essentially sabotaged the demands.
[ProPublica / Dafna Linzer]
Meanwhile, of course, the prisoners — even when the president himself shortens their sentences — have a dizzying, often overwhelming, and often dangerous world to return to.
[New York Times Magazine / Jon Mooallem]
The Hamilton Musical is, understandably, very anti-Aaron Burr. But Burr was arguably more progressive than Hamilton, an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, a friend of immigrants and an advocate of infrastructure spending. [Washington Post / Nancy Isenberg]
There is no college admissions crisis, for the simple reason that people who attend selective colleges represent only a small fraction of all students.
[FiveThirtyEight / Ben Casselman]
Want to find the quietest place in the whole country? Travel to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington.
[Crosscut / Samantha Larson]
Telemedicine abortions — where women see doctors via Skype but still do lab work and get the pills at a clinic — dramatically increase access and encourage early terminations. Only two states are on board.
[The Atlantic / Alana Semuels]
“By having deep personal connections with people, you copy your mind into theirs, creating at least some form of immortality.” [Medium / Kurt Gray]
“The Associated Press news agency entered into formal cooperation with the Hitler regime in the 1930s, supplying American newspapers with material directly produced and selected by the Nazi Propaganda Ministry, records uncovered by a German historian have revealed. .”
[The Guardian / Philip Oltermann]
“After an appropriate period of time – say by the end of September 2016 – Justice Garland should simply dress and take the vacant seat on the court. This would involve going to the Supreme Court on the first Monday in October, donning an extra black robe, sitting on the bench, sipping the mighty silver cup of milkshake in front of him, and looking like he belongs there, George Costanza style.
[Slate / Dahlia Lithwick]
The burden of war falls on fewer Americans than ever before [YouTube / Joe Posner and Veterans Coming Home]
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