By Clay Waters
Before taking the big job as PBS News Hour co-host this year, Amna Nawaz made her strong abortion-rights views known in an interview with the feminist news site The 19th:
I think a lot about the rights that will pass on to our daughters. I think we have just lived through a Supreme Court decision that for the first time in modern history has removed rights from a population rather than expanding rights, and I think a lot about the impact that will have on the next generation. I think about climate change and the world that our kids will inherit. I think about what we just lived through in this pandemic….
Nawaz introduced a segment on the legal controversy over access to the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol Wednesday evening and made her views clear, PBS’s supposed commitment to “objectivity” notwithstanding. (The Supreme Court intervened in the pill access issue on Friday, temporarily paused the lower court order that had restricted the abortion pill, preserving access.)
Nawaz: The recent dueling court decisions on the use of the abortion pill mifepristone have ignited a new debate over women’s health. And, with future access in limbo, some states are stockpiling the medication. But the Biden administration has asked an appeals court to overturn the controversial Texas ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of the drug. That decision is expected as early as this week.
She talked to Jennifer Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council — whatever that is. Nawaz questioned why the Biden administration hadn’t moved sooner:
Jen, this idea was raised a few months ago. A number of senators sent a letter to President Biden in September of last year, asking him to use HIPAA in this way. Could this have been done sooner?…I know we’re awaiting the next step from the appeals court when it comes to the Texas judge’s ruling on mifepristone. But there are already some advocates and some Democrats even saying that ruling was unfounded, and the administration should just ignore it. Do you think you should do that?
Well, you know what? This case in Texas, this decision in Texas is dangerous. But the Department of Justice feels that it is also dangerous to ignore a binding legal decision. But what is really at issue here is that we now have two cases….
Nawaz kept prodding for ideas to keep the abortions coming:
If that legal process does not go your way, though, what’s the plan? Could you be stockpiling medication? Are there other lawsuits you could be filing now?
Klein came off more hesitant than the PBS host:
Several states have begun stockpiling piling medication. But the governor of Connecticut said it well today. If the drug is illegal, stockpiling it doesn’t actually help….
Then Nawaz brought up another abortion drug:
Is there anything else you could be doing now to protect future access to misoprostol?
Nawaz chided the Biden Administration from the left on behalf of “progressive Democrats,” for being too passive in protecting abortion access at all costs.
But, Jen, if I may, are you anticipating that could be challenged as well? Is there anything you can do to preemptively protect access to it?…The reason I ask is, it gets to a larger frustration I have heard from some advocates and even some progressive Democrats I speak to, this frustration the administration has moved slowly or not been as creative or aggressive as they’d like to see. Their argument is, the urgency of this moment requires the administration to meet that moment, that go ahead and get caught trying, in other words…
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.