Republican senators urge FDA to label abortion pill as ‘deadly,' ‘hazard’ to women's health

A nurse shows RU486 pills at a family planning clinic. | AFP/Manoocher Deghati, File

A group of nearly two dozen Republican senators have signed onto a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn asking him to protect women and girls by removing abortion-inducing drugs from the U.S. market.

In the letter, lawmakers urge the FDA to "classify the abortion pill as an 'imminent hazard to the public health' that poses a 'significant threat of danger.'"

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the lawmakers who signed onto the letter, took to Twitter Wednesday to proclaim that “pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.”

The letter comes less than a week after the Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to lift an injunction on an FDA rule requiring abortion clinics to schedule in-person appointments with patients before dispensing or prescribing the abortion-inducing drugs sold as Mifeprex in the U.S.

The rule came as the abortion industry has used the coronavirus pandemic to push for the expansion of “TelAbortions,” where women receive Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486, in the mail. “TelAbortions” enable abortion clinics to circumvent the Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategies, or REMS, which require a qualified medical professional to dispense the abortion pills at a clinic, hospital or other medical facility. 

As the senators explained in the letter, “Under the REMS, an abortion pill prescriber must guarantee his competence to properly date a pregnancy, and to provide or arrange for ‘surgical intervention’ in case the pill fails, or in case the woman needs emergency intervention.” The senators proceeded to make the case that forcing women “to engage in a form of ‘DIY’ chemical abortion” comes with significant risks.

In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Sue Turner, director of Physicians for Life, said that when Mifepristone first came out, the FDA had a protocol for it to be used through seven weeks, or 49 days from conception. … “But the longer you wait," she said, “the less effective it is.”

Because many abortion clinics were ignoring the FDA’s protocol and using the drug in chemical/medical abortions up to 60 days, states began passing regulations saying they had to follow the FDA’s protocol.

“They (abortionists) didn’t want to have to follow the FDA protocol," Turner said. "So [then President Barack] Obama made the FDA change it to the later date, the 60 days, to match up with what the abortion providers were doing. The drug was less effective and abortionists then had to also perform a surgical abortion, which meant that women were being charged for both chemical and surgical procedures.”

In their letter, the senators noted: “According to FDA reporting, the abortion pill has taken more than 3.7 million preborn lives, caused 24 maternal deaths, and resulted in at least 4,195 adverse maternal reactions including hemorrhage, excruciating abdominal pain and severe life-threatening infections. The fact is that the abortion pill poses a four-times higher risk of complication than surgical abortion in the first trimester.”

The senators’ letter to the FDA also cited a report from the pro-life group Live Action called “Abortion Pill Kills.” The report explained in detail the complications experienced by women who take the abortion pill, which can include “severe cramping, contractions, and heavy bleeding.”

“According to the FDA, women can expect the bleeding to last 9 to 16 days on average, while 8% experience bleeding for more than 30 days,” the report states. It also warns that “the ultimate goal of the abortion industry” is to make abortion pills “available over the counter” and remove all requirements mandating that “licensed physicians be involved in the process.”

While the senators praised the FDA for continuing to “fight to defend the REMS” and “monitor dangerous clinical studies,” they argued that “these measures alone fail to protect the thousands of women harmed even by compliant usage of this drug—or the millions of children killed.”

These senators are not the only group expressing concerns about abortion pills and calling for their removal from the market. A group of six dozen Republican members of the House of Representatives sent Hahn a nearly identical letter seconding the concerns of their Senate colleagues.

Earlier this summer, a coalition of pro-life groups wrote a letter to Hahn calling on the FDA to ban abortion pills. Signatories included the presidents of Live Action, the Susan B. Anthony List, Samaritan’s Purse, and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists — a group of practitioners who broke away from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists after it began advocating for abortion on demand and abortion for minors without parental consent.

Pro-abortion activists were quick to condemn the push to label Mifeprex as “dangerous.” Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, slammed the “fear and lies” featured in the letter and declared that “medication abortion is incredibly safe.”

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