WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made permanent its April 2021 order that removed the required in-person doctor’s visit for women seeking a chemical abortion. Today’s decision by the FDA allows the abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, to be distributed by mail after a woman has a telehealth call with an abortion provider.
“The FDA’s decision today places women at risk,” said Carol Tobias, President of the National Right to Life Committee. “These changes do not make this abortion process safer for women. What these changes do is make the process easier for the abortion industry.”
Continued Tobias, “The FDA knows the dangers of this abortion drug combination, but in the name of political expediency, has lifted the safety measure requiring an in-person doctor’s visit.”
The FDA has a record of nearly two dozen deaths and thousands of complications associated with the use of the mifepristone/misoprostol abortion-drug combination. These dangerous pills have documented “adverse events” including serious infections and severe hemorrhaging. The FDA has had limits on distribution of mifepristone since its approval in September of 2000 and has placed the drug under a special “risk evaluation and mitigation strategy” or REMS that it has for drugs that may be associated with life-threatening side effects.
“Making this change permanent puts women at greater risk because they may not be adequately screened to make sure they have no disqualifying conditions like allergies or ectopic pregnancy and are not so far along that the drugs will not work or are more likely to result in life-threatening complications,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., director of Education and Research at National Right to Life. “Without that screening or monitoring, the likelihood of hemorrhage, infection, and missed ectopic pregnancy are greatly increased, and there is a greater possibility that a woman experiencing these adverse events may end up in the emergency room and could arrive too late for life-saving treatment.”
Despite the demonstrated dangers, the abortion industry has been engaged in a long-term campaign to try and convince the FDA to discard the in-person doctor’s visit as well as the additional safety precautions the FDA has in place. At first glance, today’s decision appears to only affect the in-person doctor’s visit and allows women to take the drugs at home.
“Chemical abortions put at risk perfectly healthy mothers who are pregnant with perfectly healthy babies,” said Tobias. “Women are at risk because abortion activists want abortions to be available at any time, anywhere, and for any reason.”
When mifepristone was first approved as an abortion drug, the FDA placed restrictions on the use of the drug. The FDA felt mifepristone was one of those “medications with serious safety concerns” that required special safety regulation “to help ensure the benefits of the medication outweigh its risks.”
But, in 2016, the FDA loosened some protocols required in the prescribing of mifepristone by lifting the requirement that the drug be used no later than 7 weeks of pregnancy and expanded the time frame to allow use up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. The FDA also lowered the required dosage, expanded the types of prescribers, and reduced the number of office visits required.
“The FDA should not have approved RU-486 in the first place,” said Tobias. “With this move today, the FDA further expands the scale of chemical warfare on the unborn, putting the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of women at risk for the sake of a powerful, political abortion industry.”
“This experiment with mail-order abortion is really a deadly experiment with women’s lives,” said Carol Tobias.