In the Biden administration’s latest reckless move to promote abortion on demand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has formally eliminated its rules against sending DIY abortion drugs through the mail. For the first time, it has also cleared the way for retail pharmacies to become certified distributors of chemical abortion pills where state law permits.
The Biden administration’s lethal innovation allows abortion pills to be sent by mail without any in-person exam and with little involvement from medical professionals. But the betrayal of unborn children, their mothers, and the public with regard to the dangers of these drugs began more than 20 years ago at the hands of the FDA—the agency tasked with ensuring that Americans’ food supply and medications are safe.
The “abortion pill” that the FDA approved, mifepristone (Mifeprex or RU486), is the first drug in a two-step process. Mifepristone starves the unborn baby of hormonal support. When used as part of the abortion drug regimen, a second drug—misoprostol—then induces contractions to expel the baby.
Chemical abortion drugs are driving an alarming increase in the number of abortions after decades of progress reducing those numbers. They now account for more than half of all abortions in the United States. That’s without even accounting for abortion drugs shipped illegally by pro-abortion groups that operate overseas and outside of the law.
It gets worse: chemical abortion drugs are even more dangerous than surgical abortion, carrying a 53 percent greater risk for an ER visit for abortion complications. Encouragingly, a group of doctors led by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is taking legal action to hold the FDA accountable for its dereliction of duty and put a stop to deadly chemical abortions.
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The alliance filed a lawsuit laying out how the FDA failed to apply the same scrutiny to abortion drugs that it applies to other drugs before approving them for market. It argues the FDA never studied whether the drugs were safe “under the labeled conditions of use,” never investigated how the regimen might affect girls whose bodies are still developing, and disregarded evidence showing chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions. In fact, to justify its egregious decision, the FDA had to treat pregnancy as though it were an illness.
Sadly, skirting the law has become a trend for the FDA; a recent congressional investigation suggests a disturbing pattern in which the FDA ignores its own protocols for approving drugs. Abortion is not health care, and the abortion drug regimen should never have been approved because it does not treat a disease. Now abortion activists want to turn every post office and pharmacy into an abortion business, with the Biden FDA as a complicit partner.
How consequential is this lawsuit? One pro-abortion state legislator told the Huffington Post “it would be apocalyptic” if it succeeded. Another said, dramatically, “it would literally cripple the way that we function as a country. It would rise to the point of a human rights violation. I get emotional even thinking about it.” The abortion lobby is terrified of losing its highly profitable workaround to abortion regulations after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision.
Media coverage of these drugs has tended to lionize the “covert networks” that traffic in them. The reality is far less glamorous and more disturbing. Not only does the chemical abortion regimen end the life of an innocent child, but it can also create lasting emotional trauma for the mother and put her at risk for serious health complications. The side effects of these pills, noted in multiple peer-reviewed studies, include hemorrhaging, severe infections, need for follow-up surgery, and even death. Since the drug was first authorized in 2000, there has been a 500 percent increase in the rate of emergency room visits related to chemical abortion—a serious public health threat.
Now that women are not required to see a doctor before attempting a chemical abortion themselves, life-threatening conditions such as ectopic pregnancies will go undetected and more women will need follow-up surgery due to underestimation of gestational age. Women will not receive routine screenings needed to prevent future pregnancy complications. No longer do they have the opportunity by default to confide in a physician—who may be the only one in a position to detect domestic violence and sex trafficking—in person and in a private setting.
We know that abusers have easy access to abortion drugs. In one recent case, a Texas woman discovered she was pregnant after her husband moved out. Not long after, she found a mysterious cloudy substance in her drink and had to be rushed to the hospital with severe bleeding. The culprit: misoprostol, which she found in the trash after becoming suspicious. A police affidavit states the husband allegedly felt the pregnancy “would ruin his plans and make him look like a jerk.” Fortunately the woman and her baby survived. Each and every one deserves that chance.
The evidence on the dire threat of chemical abortion drugs is in. It indicts not only pro-abortion Democrats who recklessly push their agenda at the expense of women and children, doing their part to create the current wild-west environment, but FDA bureaucrats, whose failures go back decades. A growing number of states are standing up to the Biden administration and enacting protections of their own. This trend is encouraging, but more action at the federal level is clearly needed.
It is past time to revoke FDA approval of abortion pills. If the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine prevails in its effort, as we hope it will, it would be an enormous victory for women’s health and safety and the lives of unborn children.
LifeNews Note: Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. This column originally appeared at Newsweek.
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