More than 100 U.S. senators and members of Congress called on the Food and Drug Administration last week to enforce safety precautions regarding the distribution of abortion pills, noting that the drugs have documented dangerous and sometimes lethal side effects.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration loosened restrictions around at-home medication abortions, a significant victory for pro-abortion groups. In a reversal of a Trump-era policy, FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said her agency would stop enforcing a restriction that required women using abortion pills to obtain the first drug in the two-dose regimen, mifepristone, in person from a medical provider. The FDA will now allow women to obtain the pills by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The FDA should not remove or weaken the existing REMS [Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies] on mifepristone when the insufficient data available suggests that mifepristone endangers women’s health,” reads a bicameral letter to FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock led by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Representative Bob Latta (R-OH).
“Requests to remove the in-person requirements for chemical abortion look the other way on women’s health and scientific data for the sake of advancing a political agenda,” the lawmakers wrote. “Allowing this drug to be available without medical supervision will have dire consequences for women and children.”
Following the Biden administration’s move, pro-life groups were quick to point out the FDA’s own data from 2018 showing 768 hospitalizations and 24 deaths since 2000 among women using abortion pills, along with thousands of cases of infections, blood loss requiring a transfusion, and other adverse events.
About 40% of all abortions performed in the country are via abortion pills.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, thanked the lawmakers for “raising alarm bells surrounding the administration’s continued exploitation of the COVID-19 pandemic to benefit the abortion lobby.”
“The FDA’s decision to abandon safety regulations for abortion drugs is purely political, and prioritizes abortion industry profits over the health and safety of women,” Dannenfelser said.
In recent weeks, several Republican-led states have taken legislative action to establish restrictions around medication abortions. Legislators in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Texas have all pushed recently to pass laws requiring more oversight and protections for women considering taking the abortion pill at home.
In Ohio, a judge blocked a ban on doctors prescribing medication abortions to women via telemedicine after Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against it.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has begun to intensify the president’s abortion agenda. Earlier this month, Biden reversed a Trump administration rule barring groups who provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving government funding from Title X, the country’s family-planning program for low-income patients. Biden also repealed the Trump administration’s expanded version of the Mexico City Policy, known as the “global gag rule,” which prohibits taxpayer dollars going to foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion.