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CNN International: U.S. Supreme Court Hearing Arguments On Abortion Drug; Major Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Being Hit By Ship; Official: Six Unaccounted For In Baltimore Bridge Collapse; Crew Search For Six People After Bridge Collapse; U.S. Supreme Court Arguments On Abortion Pill Case Have Ended; Cold Water Temperatures Limit Human Survivability Time. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 11:00   ET



ERIN HAWLEY, SENIOR COUNSEL, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM: Resorts to the underlying briefs in the case to say that there was a contract and an economic harm. But this court's case specifically said that the fact that the heart -- the nature of the harm was, quote, non- economic, did not prevent the court from finding an injury.

In Havens, the court looked to two things, whether there was an impairment of the organization's mission. And second, whether there was an expenditure of resources. Both things are satisfied here.

If you look at how our organizations have been harmed, they've been forced to divert resources from speaking and advocating for their pro- life mission generally, to explaining the dangers of the harm from abortion drugs.

One of the primary reasons that that's required is because in 2016, FDA took away the requirement that abortion providers report adverse events.

CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, but that would be anyone who is aggressive or vigilant about bringing lawsuits just simply by using resources to advocate their position in court. You say now causes an injury that seems easily easy to manufacture.

HAWLEY: So I don't think that's true in this case, Justice Thomas. I acknowledge that the lower courts have cabined Havens to say where you have sort of prelude to litigation types of activities.

In those sorts of cases, those resource justifications don't count.

In this case, if you look at respondents' declarations, they note that they have performed studies, they've analyzed studies. Several of those are in the record and they're not short. They came -- come through Medicaid data, they come through FERS data, so you get at the true nature of adverse events.

And all those sorts of things are neither a prelude to litigation, nor would they have occurred but for FDA's unlawful conduct in this case. SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Counsel, in the line you quoted about economic harm that had to do with the fact that they didn't intend through their testers to rent an apartment. And so there was no economic loss to them or gain to them from renting the apartment.

But what was, I think, the SG is pointing to, is that they provided services on their own. It wasn't just the member services that they were relying upon. They were providing services to people to help them rent departments.

And so that's a very important distinction from here. Separate from the individual defendants' claims of standing based on wasted resources, their resources.

The organizations are not losing anything.


SOTOMAYOR: Their job is to do exactly what you're talking about and they're doing it. They're investigating certain problems. But that's not an injury that's redressable by this, by vacating this rule.

HAWLEY: So a couple of things, Your Honor, this court's opinion, Havens did not rely on the economic nature at all. Again, I'd point, Your Honor, to the line in Havens where the court says the non- economic nature of respondents' interest in housing. They were speaking broadly.

Again, you have to dig to the underlying briefs to find that economic interest that this court did not rely on.

With respect to our own injury, it's absolutely redressable. For example, if the regulations are put back in place, the protections whereby individual abortion providers need to provide information about adverse events, that would provide our respondent organizations with more accurate information about the harms from abortion drugs.



JACKSON: -- about the remedy and sort of the way that I was talking with the SG? I mean, it makes perfect sense for the individual doctors to seek an exemption.

But as I understand it, they already have that. And so what they're asking for here is that in order to prevent them from possibly ever having to do these kinds of procedures, everyone else should be prevented from getting access to this medication.

So, why isn't that plainly over-broad scope of the remedy the end of this case?

HAWLEY: So with respect to the premise of that question, Justice Jackson, I don't think our doctors necessarily are able to object for two reasons. One of this is the emergency nature of these procedures.

As FDA acknowledges, many women do go to the emergency room. And if we just think about what that might look like, take Dr. Francis (ph). She's on the labor and delivery floor supervising --

JACKSON: Well, I don't -- I'm sorry. I don't want to hypothesize. Tell me in her declaration where she talks about not being able to object or pose a conscientious objection.

HAWLEY: She talks about, Your Honor being in a --

JACKSON: I mean, can you point me to any place in the declarations where a declarant states that they attempted to object but were unable to.


HAWLEY: No, Your Honor. For two reasons. One, these are emergency situations. Respondent doctors don't necessarily know until they scrub into that operating room, whether this may or may not be abortion drug harm. It could be a miscarriage. It could be an ectopic pregnancy. Or it could be an elective abortion, Your Honor.

In addition, the government simply cannot get its story straight on EMTALA. If you look at the district court brief in that case, we just heard that the church amendment applies.

And while we would love for this court to adopt that position, they told the district court the very opposite.

JACKSON: All right, let me ask you this. If we were to find that there are conscientious objections that, say, hospitals take them into account and these doctors do have a way to not do these kinds of procedures, should we end this case on that basis?

HAWLEY: No, Your Honor, we would welcome that holding, but it's not broad enough to remedy our doctor's harm.


HAWLEY: Because these are emergency situations. They can't waste precious moments scrubbing in --

JACKSON: No, no, no. I'm saying -- I'm saying assuming we have a world in which they can actually lodge the objections that you say that they have.

My question is, isn't that enough to remedy their issue? Do we have to also entertain your argument that no one else in the world can have this drug or no one else in America should have this drug in order to protect your clients?

HAWLEY: So again, Your Honor, it's not possible, given the emergency nature of these situations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Counsel, let me -- let me interrupt there, I'm sorry.

I think Justice Jackson's saying, let's spot you all that, OK? With respect to your clients. Normally in Article III, traditional equitable remedies, we issue and we say over and over again, provide a remedy sufficient to address the plaintiff's asserted injuries and go no further.

We have before us a handful of individuals who have asserted a conscience objection. Normally, we would allow equitable relief to address them.

Recently, I think what Justice Jackson's alluding to, we've had one might call it a rash of universal injunctions or vacatures.

In this case, seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on an FDA rule or any other federal government action. Thoughts?

HAWLEY: Yes, Your Honor. Again, I have to say that I think it's impracticable to raise a conscious objection. But even spotting that, I think the district court remedy here was perfectly appropriate under Section 705.

Section 705 grants the reviewing courts the authority to issue all necessary and appropriate relief.

And as the government acknowledged an oral argument in Corner Post, when the parties before the court are non-regulated parties, the only avenue in which they can possibly get relief, and of course that's sort of the sine qua non of equitable relief, is that the parties before the court get it.

And that's for, as in this case, a state issue or another case is a vacature. And that's because without that sort of relief, the very parties before the court won't get it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think something --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why can't just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why can't the court specify that this relief runs to precisely the parties before the court, as opposed to looking to the agency in general and saying agency, you can't do this anywhere?

HAWLEY: So I think, Your Honor, that might be unpracticable. If we're thinking again about the emergency room situation, would Dr. Francis again have to know when she's in the emergency room whether this is a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, or an elective abortion, this is what she does day in and day out.

And so it seems like to say that these would run two particular plaintiffs would be missing that the FDA regulations would still be in place and permit things like mail order abortions. They would have removed the reporting requirements.

And if we look at the merits of what FDA did in 2021, FDA relied on two things. They relied first on the FERS' data.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Counsel, before you pivot back to the merits, and I can understand your impulse there. But I went back and look.


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We've just been listening to oral arguments there at the Supreme Court of the United States. At issue here is the abortion drug and access to the abortion drug mifepristone.

It's just one of two major stories that are unfolding at this hour.

There's also in Baltimore situation that one official describes as a quote, nightmare for all of us. A major bridge collapsing after being hit by a cargo ship.

Officials, right now, searching the frigid waters there for any sign of people still missing.

And again, at the U.S. Supreme Court, it may be the most pivotal day for reproductive rights since Roe versus Wade was overturned. The court right now, as just heard there, hearing arguments as they decide whether to restrict access to a widely used abortion drug.


Let's bring in CNN's Jessica Schneider, she is in Washington.

So, Jessica, set up for us what exactly is that stake here and what the court is weighing?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rahel, we've been hearing these arguments for about an hour now. And what they've been focusing on are the issue of standing, whether the doctors who brought this lawsuit, trying to restrict the abortion pill, whether they even had the power to initially bring the lawsuit.

And then secondly, you know, if they did have the power to bring this lawsuit, whether the FDA acted with reason decision making, when they rolled back some of the restrictions on the pill in 2016 and 2021.

And what -- you know, we heard the arguments from the FDA. It was argued by the Solicitor General of the United States and then also from the manufacturer of this abortion pill.

And right now, we're hearing arguments from the lawyer representing the doctors. And, you know, the two sides are diametrically opposed. You know, the doctors that brought this case said that they were being impacted because if something did go wrong with mifepristone, the abortion pill, that those doctors who might be in the ER, at the time something might go wrong, they might have to treat one of these patients. And because of that, they said that they were being affected.

The FDA is saying, that is very much too tenuous to establish that you have the right to bring this lawsuit. So that's one of the arguments here.

We're also hearing about some of the easing of getting this abortion pill. You know, it was in 2016 and 2021 that the FDA eased some of the barriers to this pill. Women can now get this pill up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Previously, they could only get it up to seven weeks. And crucially, women can also get this pill right now. And it began in 2021. They can get it via the mail.

And, interestingly, there was also somewhat of a question that popped up from Justice Thomas about that issue of getting it in the mail. It was an issue that wasn't really argued below. It'll be interesting to see at the Supreme Court even addresses it in their opinion.

But it's something called the Comstock Act. And the Comstock Act prohibits the delivery of contraception and items considered obscene through the U.S. mail. So that's one of the arguments sort of percolating here that this mifepristone should not be delivered via mail because it violates the Comstock Act.

Interestingly, the DOJ, earlier this year, looked into that argument and they issued their opinion, some guidance saying, no, it doesn't violate the Comstock Act because mifepristone can be used for more things than just abortion.

In fact, many women also use it if they've miscarried. This helps women deal with the miscarriage.

So, you know, this is a big case because it really brings the Supreme Court back into the forefront of the abortion debate, something the Supreme Court probably thought two years ago that they had settled when they overturned Roe v. Wade and really handed the power over abortion law back to the states.

But, of course, now we've got these doctors, Rahel, challenging the abortion pill. This is something that is used in more than half of all abortions across the country. And crucially, it's used by women in those states that outlaw abortion because they can simply get it via mail.

So, you know, there is an ideological component to these arguments, and now the Supreme Court will have to wait in. So, we're about an hour plus into these arguments. It probably will go at least a half hour more.

And then, Rahel, we probably won't see any decision in this case until the end of June when the Supreme Court concludes its term.

And until then, everything is status quo with this abortion pill. It is fully available. It is available to women up to 10 weeks, and it's available by mail. But we'll see if the Supreme Court decides anything that could change how this pill is administered.


SOLOMON: As you point out, an ideological component here with huge practical implications, it sounds like for a lot of people.

Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

We want to now get back to our other major story this morning, that bridge collapse that Baltimore's mayor is calling the unthinkable.

Rescue efforts are in full swing right now, and crews are searching for as many as six people who are still unaccounted for. So far, two people have been rescued.

We want to show you the moment the cargo ship crashes into the bridge early this morning. Take a look.

OK. Well, we will get that video for you just as soon as we have it.

In the meantime, officials confirm that there were construction workers on the bridge when it was struck as well as vehicles.

The four-lane bridge is a mile and a half long. That's about two and a half kilometers. It spans a waterway that serves as a hub for East Coast shipping.

Now, a short time ago, the governor of Maryland spoke about the investigation into the crash.


GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): The preliminary investigation points to an accident. We haven't seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack.


Our administration is working closely with leaders from all levels of government and society to respond to this crisis.


SOLOMON: OK. I could not hear the governor, but hopefully you could.

Let me bring in CNN's Kristin Fisher who joins me now from Pasadena, Maryland, just south of Baltimore.

Kristin, give us a sense, a lay of the land, sort of, of what you're seeing there and what the latest is.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Rahel, we got our last official update from the governor, as you just heard there.

And during that press conference, he really detailed and confirmed some of the theories that people had been speculating about because we saw that container ship, the lights flickering on that container ship shortly before impact, which led people to think that maybe there was some kind of power issue with that container ship.

And the governor confirming that, saying that the crew notified authorities of a power issue. So it remains to be seen exactly how that played into what happened here today. But that certainly a focus for investigators right now.

The governor was also saying that, you know, of course right now, the big focus is on this search and rescue operation. Two people have already been rescued, one is in the hospital, the other is OK, not in the hospital. But there are six people still missing. All six were part of a construction crew that was on that bridge fixing potholes. So they weren't there doing any kind of structural repairs or anything, just fixing potholes. That is who the Coast Guard is now searching for right now.

And you just have to imagine that they would now be in this water for several hours now, very cold water. So the search and rescue efforts really reaching a critical point right now.

And then one other thing, Rahel, you know, you just have to note this is such a massive port. One of the busiest ports in the world.

And this bridge just completely gone. A major, major thoroughfare around the city of Baltimore. And the governor saying, it's going to be several years before they're able to rebuild.

SOLOMON: OK. Kristin Fisher --

FISHER: And we'll be right back after this short break.

SOLOMON: Mm-hmm.


SOLOMON: Welcome back. We want to return now to the bridge collapse that the mayor of Baltimore is calling the unthinkable.

Rescue efforts are in full swing and crews are searching for as many as six people who are still unaccounted for. So far, two people have been rescued.

Joining us now is CNN transportation analyst, Mary Schiavo.

Mary, good to have you today. We know you've been on the -- on the network all morning trying to help us make sense of it.

Help me understand. We just had this press conference from the governor from local officials. What questions right now are still outstanding to you?


MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Well, there are so many questions about what actually happened on the ship.

Now, there are a lot of fortunate things in this disaster. They did get a mayday call out. They had a highly skilled and licensed harbor pilot.

In other words, someone who knows the channels, knows the currents, is licensed, has a background check to guide the ship to literally steer the ship through the channel and under the bridge. And so that helped. And the fact that they got the mayday call and there was an effort to stop traffic over the bridge.

You know, however, they're going to know what went wrong with the ship. Why was it listing so far out of the channel, even before it hit the bridge?

And if it lost power, then, of course, it lost the ability even to do sort of other steering. For example, you know, everyone knows you steer the ship with the, you know, the rudder just like a small ship, a big ship does the same thing.

But you also have on a big ship bow thrusters that can move the ship from side to side, can help you maneuver in very small spaces and can help you actually slow down and get away from any obstruction that you're headed to.

If you had no power and you lost the power, you're literally just floating along with the currents and the currents could have taken right into the bridge. Even if they tried to stop, they may not have been able to do much about it.

SOLOMON: Yes. And help us understand. I mean, we heard in the press conference that the ship was moving at a speed of about eight knots. Help us contextualize that. I know it's not just as simple as it was moving at a speed of eight knots. Help us contextualize that and what that means to you.

SCHIAVO: Well, that sounds slow, of course, you know, when you realize, you know, the aircraft move at several hundred knots. But, you know, the problem is also the currents and whether the tide was coming in or going out. And it's also the weight of the ship.

So a very large vessel going eight knots. I mean, still, if you hit something at the eight knots or, you know, 12, 15 miles an hour, that still it's a huge impact because of the size of the ship, where if it was something small, it wouldn't have made such a difference.

So the speed isn't so much the issue as that force of those hundreds of thousands of tons hitting the bridge.

And also it's unclear if they hit just the support structure, which would lead one to ask, why wasn't their protective rip-rap, rock, cement, et cetera, around the base of the bridge? Or if they were so far out of the channel that the ship and cargo itself hit the bridge, not the support structure. And so those are questions they will have to answer as well.

SOLOMON: And, Mary, what about the actual bridge itself? I mean, we have learned this morning that it was built about 50 years ago. It was said to be in fair shape, according to its last -- its last inspection.

I mean, what questions or how might that factor into ultimately what we see here in this video? SCHIAVO: Well, I think it will factor into it because the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as the Highway Administration and many other agencies, government agencies are going to want to know, in the 50 years of progress and bridge building since 1977, what have we learned?

Well, we've learned an awful lot because a lot of bridge collapses in the U.S. do happen when a ship hits the bridge.

And in some cases, the bridge comes down, but in most cases, just a segment of the bridge comes down.

And in some cases, a segment has come down. They've repaired it. But here, the whole, almost all the bridge came down. And so they're going to be looking at the bridge supports and stays, what affix the bridge to the support structure. They're going to be looking at the connectors and the connections of the bridge.

And here in my home state, they had a bridge that was hit by a ship and a couple of the sections of the bridge came down. They're repaired it and last for many more decades until it was replaced in the 2000s.

So they're going to be asking, why did the whole thing come down?

And with the change in construction methods, construction materials, et cetera, what do we have to do better when we build back?

And they will build back and it will be a better bridge. But that's because there's been 50 years of progress in bridge building.

SOLOMON: Mm hmm. Walk me through the NTSB has said, and I should say that we expect the press conference in a -- in a short period from the NTSB. The NTSB has said that they have launched a Go team.

What exactly does that entail? And with so many questions, where do they even begin, Mary? What's first?

SCHIAVO: Well, what's first is they are going to want to talk to the pilot who was the harbor pilot who was steering the ship literally. They're going to want to check the ship logs, the maintenance logs, the travel logs of the ship.

Did they have any idea that they had problems before they, you know, departed for this voyage? You know, most likely not, but they're going to be checking all the ships logs.

Ships are like, you know, trains and airplanes. They have arc (ph) and many ships have onboard cameras and they have a forward-looking camera. They have some instrument recording equipment. So much like other accidents in transportation, they may have several recordings right from the ship that will help them.


And it's the United States law that those on the ship must cooperate with the NTSB. And most likely they will be doing that. Sometimes, of course, they want to have their counsel present, but I would assume that that's going to be their first stop.

And then of course they're going to look and want to talk to those two people who are on the bridge, I understand one can't talk, one can, as to what exactly they saw, what did they hear?

And then finally for the people who got the warnings and tried to stop the traffic going onto the bridge which undoubtedly saved dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of lives, what did they know? What did they do? What was the mayday call? There's just so many things that they're going to be looking at.

And remember, they will also look with U.S. highway officials as to how the bridge was vulnerable.

SOLOMON: And we should say, I mean, this is, of course, not the concern immediately, but this is a bridge that some 35,000 people travel on every single day. It is an extremely well trafficked bridge.

Any sense, Mary, of just how long reconstruction of a bridge like this might even take?

SCHIAVO: Oh, it will take years.

You know, I was -- actually, I looked at it right out my office window. They dropped a bridge through explosives intentionally, very much like this bridge, into the Charleston, South Carolina Harbor.

It was intentional because we're getting a brand-new bridge. And the new bridge took, oh, gosh, it was probably five years to get the new bridge.

And it was important, it was a great improvement, but that was an expected collapse. And that was a bridge for which the funding was in place.

Remember, the funding largely comes from the federal government. They had the plans in place. They had to bring a team in from all over the world to build the bridge.

When the -- when the debris -- when the bridge was dropped into the harbor, of course, then they retrieved it, they hooked it up with big cranes and they pulled it out into the ocean to make coral reefs out of it. So they got some use out of the bridge they dropped.

But this is a very long process. There is no shortcut on a bridge, particularly a bridge of this long of a span. And it will be a very expensive bridge.

You know, I -- you know, we're not talking, you know, tens of millions of dollars. We may be approaching probably a billion to build a bridge of this magnitude.

SOLOMON: Wow. So something that will certainly be years in the making just hours into this.

SCHIAVO: Yes. SOLOMON: I mean, we should say for our audience that this happens at about 1:30 local time. So we're not even -- we're closing in on 12 hours. Just this is -- this is really early days here.

Mary Schiavo, CNN transportation analyst. Thank you, Mary.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

SOLOMON: And then update on our other top story, on our top story today, the bridge collapsed in Maryland. The governor now tasked with leading the state through a very difficult moment.


MOORE: But Maryland, we will get through this because that is the Maryland spirit and that's what Maryland has made of. We are Maryland tough and we are Baltimore strong.



SOLOMON: And welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rahel Solomon, live in New York.

The search continues for six people who are unaccounted for. It's well underway in Baltimore. The search following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Here live pictures of the bridge which collapsed early this morning, after it was struck by a cargo ship. It sent people and vehicles into the frigid water below.

Two people have been rescued. One of them in serious condition. The bridge is at the port of Baltimore, which is one of the busiest hubs in the United States.

In a short time ago, Baltimore's fire chief talked about what crews are doing to try to find survivors.


JAMES WALLACE, BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT CHIEF: We're also using side-scan sonar technology. We have that available to us on multiple vessels that are out right now actively searching.

What I'm told is we've been able to mark what they believe to be three passenger vehicles. They've also been able to mark a cement truck. And we believe we've marked a fifth vehicle.


SOLOMON: Now, this is the moment, in this video, that the ship struck the bridge. You just see the bridge there incredibly just come falling, tumbling into the water.

The FBI and police say that, so far, there are no signs that the crash was an act of terrorism.

Let's now bring in CNN's Brian Todd, who is also live in Baltimore.

Brian, good to have you. You are obviously on the water. Walk us through from your perspective. In fact, and see correctly, the ship is just behind you. Walk us through what you can see from where you are.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Rahel. Well, come over my shoulder here, our photojournalist, Andrew Christman (ph) and Joe Merkel (ph). We have two cameras here that we can kind of operate from. They're going to give you a really good view of this.

We're, I'd say about a little over a thousand yards away from the Dali. That's the name of this cargo vessel that slammed into the bridge there. That is the Francis Scott Key Bridge. That is what's left of it, unfortunately.

Look at that. The entire center of the bridge is completely gone. And you can see remnants of the bridge to the left and to the right of this vessel.

And if you can see the bow, one of our cameras can train in close to the bow there, to the right. Part of the bridge is actually lying across the bow. This is a fully loaded container ship that was outbound at the time of the accident at about 1 30 A.M. Eastern time this morning. That's when the incident occurred.

You can also see other smaller vessels kind of buzzing around. This is still a rescue operation. Six people at this moment are unaccounted for. I heard you give the other stats earlier. A total of eight people were on the bridge at the time of the accident.

According to officials, two of them were rescued. One of them unhurt. One of them in serious condition. But there are six people unaccounted for.

And one of the things that rescue teams are up against here is the cold water. Our CNN weather teams tell us that the water is about 46 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. That's very dangerously cold for people to be able to sustain for any length of time.

Our weather forecaster, Derek Van Dam, just told us that basically you can survive in that water for maybe between one and three hours. But your heart rate starts racing. You can have a heart attack in the water. So very dangerous conditions. Not only for anyone who might have fallen in the water, but also for the dive teams that have to come in and out constantly to try to find people.

The water is also very murky here. Visibility under the water, not very good. Strong currents are also a factor. And we're told that in about 12 hours, the rain is going to come. So the visibility and the conditions are going to worsen here in the next few hours.

And again, we're going to give you kind of a panoramic view here. Just take a look at the devastation. Remnants of the bridge there. The center of the bridge completely gone. The bow of the Dali pointed out toward the Chesapeake Bay there, to our left.

And then I'm going to have our photojournalist, Andrew Christman, kind of come with me to our left here. You can see a Coast Guard vessel involved in the rescue effort there with a smaller boat to its side.

What's being obscured slightly now, but you'll get a view of it in just a couple of seconds there. You see a green vessel behind it. A large green kind of cargo ship. And it'll come into view just as that Coast Guard vessel moves to the left.

That big green vessel is called the Carmen (ph). That is a vessel that transports cars, new cars in and out of Baltimore Harbor. They mostly bring them in, of course, from other ports. But that vessel was getting ready to leave. That now is trapped in here. As are so many other cargo container ships, commercial vessels, cruise ships, other things that are trapped in the Baltimore Harbor.


Nothing can come in or out unless a vessel is involved with the rescue and recovery effort. As you see, those vessels are. There's a barge right there.

But the port of Baltimore, the Baltimore Harbor is just over here to the left. Well, actually, Andrew and I will kind of -- I'll get out of Andrew's way and he'll be able to show you the skyline of Baltimore there.

You've got restaurants and hotels also that are dependent on this commerce coming in and out of the city of Baltimore. So it gives you an idea of just what is at a standstill now. This could reach the billions of dollars in the next few days as commerce here has come to a screeching halt.

We're also told that this bridge, the Francis Scott Key Bridge that has now been collapsed into the water is one of the main venues from where hazardous material can be transported up and down the East Coast. They do not allow hazardous material to go into the tunnels under the city of Baltimore where a lot of the vehicle traffic moves up and down the East Coast.

Hazardous material has to go onto this bridge. And we're not clear if there's any other venue for it to move up and down the East Coast. So that gives you another sense of the disruption here.

Again, now there's a chopper now overhead. The rescue operation now was really in full force. It has been for less at least 10 hours or so as vessels scour the water and dive teams come in and out trying to find six people still unaccounted for here, Rahel.

SOLOMON: Mm-hmm. OK. Brian Todd with a vantage point of perspective we have not seen this morning. Brian Todd, thanks so much.

I want to continue the conversation now and bring in structural engineer, David Knight. David, you know, I was talking with my last guest about the structure of the bridge, the integrity of the bridge and what difference it being built 50 years ago could make if any.

What are your thoughts on that?

DAVID KNIGHT, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: It's a really interesting point. And one of the things about bridge engineering is that we are learning all the time and improving our practices all the time.

I would say that bridges that are being designed and being constructed at the minute do have increased ship impact protection. And it's a serious piece of work that is taken very cautiously through the design process, considering how a navigation channel and ships of this size will impact on a new structure that crosses the bridge -- crosses the channel, I should say.

And that ship impact protection will take a number of forms. It might be dolphins or restrictions on ship movements that are in the water, sacrificial pieces of concrete essentially, or it might be hydraulic energy absorbing buffers on the pier bases that resist the loads.

However, the size of this ship means that those have to work extremely hard to resist the forces that are generated. It may be low speed, but the weight of the ship and the momentum that it carries means that it's an extraordinarily large force that's been applied to this bridge pier in this tragic, tragic accident.

SOLOMON: Yes. And just for our audience, our understanding is that the ship was -- or is 984 feet or about 300 meters.

Can I ask, David, when you saw the moment of impact, it was a little shocking to me, certainly as a layperson, to just sort of see the way the bridge fell.

I'm curious sort of what your takeaways and what your reaction was seeing that moment of impact.

KNIGHT: I think like everybody around the world, it was a huge shock, even as a profession in the industry to see the scale of the damage that was wrought by this ship impact. It was -- it was shocking for us. It was just as we woke up in the -- in the morning, the first images that came through.

And -- but on reflection and thinking about how this as a structure is likely to behave, it is entirely what I would expect in this instance when a single support in a three-span structure is taken away. This progressive and quite rapid collapse is exactly how you might expect this structure to behave.

And really the way that we deal with that nowadays and in more recent designs, as I said, by increasing the level of impact resistance and protection around those piers, making sure those fragile elements of hopefully robust system are better protected.

SOLOMON: Does it make a difference? We heard earlier from an official from the Maryland Department of Transportation, the secretary say that the ship was off center. It is not where it should have been.

Normally, it would have been going through the main channel. The impact of that, if at all.

KNIGHT: Absolutely. Navigation of ships through these restricted waterways, I think as you have heard, is always undertaken with pilots on board who know the waterways and know the likely issues going around.


And that's why incidents of this scale are so rare. And it takes a sequence of issues to (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY) arise to cause this kind of problem.

And it looks like the -- it might have been mechanical issue or something on board that is driven it off course or now its control.

And normally, ships would be driven down the middle or slightly to one side of the navigation channel, but not as an angle to the navigation channel, it looks like which is veer across the navigational channel towards the pier and had missed any impact protection that it exists in the area and hits the pier dead on, nose first and caused the maximum possible amount of damage.

SOLOMON: Yes. It is just truly remarkable in the words of the mayor there, this is unthinkable tragedy.

David Knight from Cake Industries, thank you so much for the insights and the expertise today.

KNIGHT: Thank you.

SOLOMON: All right. This hour, we continue to follow the most significant abortion cases of reversal of Roe versus Wade. We're going to have an update after a short break on today's U.S. Supreme Court arguments. Stay with us.


SOLOMON: Welcome back and updating you now on one of our top stories. Today, arguments have just ended in a monumental abortion case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A government attorney said that there is no justification to limit access to mifepristone, which was approved by the FDA in 2000.

Now the court has to decide if the FDA later overstepped its authority by making it easier for women to get the pill.

Let's go back now to Jessica Schneider in Washington. So, Jessica, both lay out for us what's at stake here and also what happens now that oral arguments have ended.

SCHNEIDER: Well, what's at stake is that the way this abortion pill has been administered for years. It could change, depending on what the Supreme Court decides.

We don't expect a decision from the Supreme Court until probably June, probably the end of June when they wrap up their term since this is such a monumental case.

But this is the Supreme Court, those nine justices, once again, waiting into this very fraught abortion debate this time in an election year. It was two years ago that they overturned Roe v. Wade, essentially handing the power to regulate abortion completely back to the States. And now this issue presented itself.

This issue actually was first filed in court in 2022. Doctors banded together a group of doctors and said that the way the FDA went about approving this abortion pill negatively impacted them. They claimed that if they happened to be in the emergency room, if a woman has complications from mifepristone, they would be forced to treat this woman when they might not necessarily agree with abortion of the way that this pill is being used.

So we just wrapped up the arguments. They were about 90 minutes long.

And at the end of it, we heard very forceful arguments from the solicitor general here who represents the U.S. government, the FDA here.


And she really stressed that this would be the first time that a court would be stepping in depending on how the Supreme Court rules, that a court might be stepping in to really upend the FDA process.

You know, the FDA claims that it went through a rigorous process, fact-finding, to see how this drug would work. And as such, they approved the drug in 2000 and then put in different parameters for the drug in 2016 and 2021, including that women can use it up to 10 weeks of pregnancy instead of just seven, and also that they can get this in the mail.

But again, on the other side, the doctors who brought this lawsuit, saying that the FDA didn't go through the proper procedures and that these doctors who might be forced to treat these women who have used mifepristone if it goes wrong, that they are negatively impacted. So that's a big issue here.

Whether those doctors that brought this case, whether they even have standing or the power to bring this lawsuit, that will be the first thing that the Supreme Court decides. And then if the court decides they do have standing, they'll move on to the next issue, which is whether the FDA acted in a reasoned manner in relaxing some of the restrictions on the abortion pill in recent years.

So, Rahel, this is another big issue regarding abortion that is thrusting the Supreme Court into the spotlight on the abortion issue yet again in yet another election year. We saw it back in 2022 with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. And now in a presidential election year in 2024, the Supreme Court will wade into this very fraught issue.

The justices didn't really show their hand at argument. It was clear that the conservative justices were trying to come up with a way that the doctors in this case may actually have standing. So we'll see if the conservative majority here ultimately determines that the doctors have standing. And then it would move into, did the FDA go through the right process in easing some of those restrictions in recent years? Rahel.

SOLOMON: Whatever they decided, it will have huge implications. This is a drug mifepristone that, by some estimates, two-thirds of abortions in 2023 were used by, so it will have huge ramifications.

We'll wait to see, Jessica Schneider.


SOLOMON: Thank you so much.

SCHNEIDER: And, yes. And, Rahel.


SCHNEIDER: You know, crucially here, the abortion pill, it's not only used in a majority of abortions, 60 plus percent, it's also used in the treatment of miscarriages, so it's not just abortions.

And then also, this would negatively, you know, if it was restricted in any way, the use of this pill, it would also negatively impact those women who are currently in states that completely ban abortion. You know, those women are still able to get this pill via mail.

So, yes, there would be a lot of women affected. Again, not just women who want an abortion, but also women who use this pill for the treatment of miscarriages as well.

SOLOMON: Yes. Very important context.

Jessica Schneider, thank you.

Let's continue this conversation further, and let's bring in former Supreme Court law clerk, Annie -- Anne, excuse me, Voigts. Anne, good to have you. She is an appellate constitutional and administrative lawyer. And we do want to stress that her views are her views alone. They are not the views of her employer or her client.

Anne, let me ask, we can sometimes sort of game out based on the questions from the justices, where they're leaning, what are they thinking. What did you hear today? Any sense of where this is going?

ANNE VOIGTS, FORMER SUPREME COURT LAW CLERK: So I think it sounds like there's a general concern about whether the plaintiffs in this case, the doctors and the associations have standing.

And that wasn't just limited to one side or the other of the court. But you'd heard some general concerns about whether these sort of conscience injuries are going to be enough to open the doors to the courthouse.

As Jessica said, this is a really fundamental threshold issue. It's the first one that the court has to deal with before it can even get to the question about the propriety of the FDA's actions.

SOLOMON: And I think that's such an interesting point. And I would love for you to explain how important it is to have legal standing.

I mean, I imagine not just anyone can bring any case in front of a court. I mean, you do have to have standing. Explain to us why that is so important.

VOIGTS: Sure. Absolutely. It's grounded in Article III of the Constitution. And the idea is that you want people actually have injuries, you know, that are traceable to the conduct they're complaining of.

Who are the ones who bring the suit? You don't want to brought by somebody who doesn't have a real interest in the case. And I'm interested actually will be connected to the conduct they're trying to challenge. And it would be fixed by something that the court can do.

And if you can't satisfy those three prongs, then you're not the right person to bring a particular case.

And so during the whole argument, we heard sort of time and time again, these questions about conscience injuries and questions about whether the doctors who were saying that they might at some point have to treat, you know, someone who had had adverse effects from taking the drug. Because none of the doctors in question actually prescribed the drug themselves.

So the question was, is that really enough to open the doors to the courthouse? There seemed to be some generalized skepticism about that.


SOLOMON: Mm-hmm.

VOIGTS: You know, the second question, which you get nearly as much attention, was whether it was appropriate here for the Court of Appeals to roll back what the FDA did in 2016 and in 2021, when it sort of relaxed some of the initial requirements that it had imposed in 2000 when it approved the drug.

And that, as the solicitor general said, is something that courts really haven't done. The SG said, you know, and this was something that some of the justices focused on.

You know, this is not something that any court has done. To say that the FDA's, you know, use of its expert judgment and determining whether a drug is safe or not, is something that courts can second guess.

SOLOMON: And, Anne, just sort of walk me through the implications of this. And I guess we should make clear, the access to mifepristone is not what's at question here, it is about the expansion and how it was being prescribed over mail.

Can you -- can you make that distinction for us and explain what exactly is at stake right now?

VOIGTS: Sure. So the original suit challenged all of the levels of approval, both the initial one in 2000 of mifepristone for use at all. But then also the relaxation of some of the initial requirements in 2016 and 2021, as the FDA got additional studies and additional information that helped them assess what requirements were actually necessary and which ones were not.

Now, originally, the district court, you know, repealed issue to stay for all of them. But the court of appeals actually sort of split the baby and said, no, look, it is too late for you to bring these challenges to the 2000 approval initially, but we are going to stay the 2016 and 2021 rule.

So if that ruling were to take effect, if the Supreme Court were to agree with the Fifth Circuit, mifepristone would still be available, but it would be available under those original terms.


Anne Voigts, it's obviously a hugely monumental day. Certainly could impact a lot of women and people. And we certainly appreciate your insights today. Thank you.

VOIGTS: Thank you.

SOLOMON: All right. Still to come, the latest on challenges facing the rescue efforts after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland. We're going to take a quick break. We will be right back.


SOLOMON: Welcome back. Rescue crews have been working non-stops since the Maryland Bridge collapsed.

And one of the biggest challenges has been the weather conditions, including the wind and the cold water. Here's the Baltimore City Fire Chief.


WALLACE: We have the weather challenge. We have the pre-existing cold water temperature challenge. We have very likely limited visibility because of the depth of the water itself. And then we have the superstructure of the bridge that is now actually underwater. So we are facing numerous challenges.


SOLOMON: Let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, we had Brian Todd out on the water a short time ago and he was talking about how frigid the water is. So walk us through how dangerous the water is right now and how cold it really is.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, 48 degree water temperatures. That's what their current readings are. The Baltimore Harbor at the Patapsco River Gage.

And, you know, this area, having water temperatures of 48 degrees, isn't all that uncommon, but it is dangerous to you and I. Anyone who is succumb to that type of water conditions, especially for prolonged periods of time.


So here's a look at the collapsed bridge site. There's 695. And when we talk about the survivability of water temperatures between 40 to 50 degrees, it's roughly one to three hours. Your heart rate starts to increase. Your breathing starts to increase. Even your blood pressure as well can lead to heart attack.

Now, also complicating the efforts, not only for the divers, for the search and recovery operations, below water, but also for the dive teams and the boating teams above water, is the fact that we have coastal flood warnings for the entire Chesapeake Bay region.

In fact, dangerous rip currents explicitly noted from the National Weather Service. This is because we have exaggerated tidal swings at the moment because it is a full moon, or we call that a spring tide.

We are now entering into a low tide situation. But these changes in tides, as well as the outgoing river flow from the Patapsco River, is indeed a confluent factor that could create very tricky navigating tides and currents in and around the search and recovery site that is ongoing right now. Rahel.

SOLOMON: OK. Derek Van Dam, thanks for that perspective.

And thank you for watching. I'm Rahel Solomon, live in New York. Stick with CNN. Our special coverage continues with "ONE WORLD" after a quick break.