Communications Department

National Right to Life: ACLU Files Suit to Eliminate FDA Restrictions On Abortion-Inducing Drugs Intended to Protect Women

May 29, 2020 | 2020 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit challenging the protections the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has maintained for the use of chemical abortions involving the drug mifepristone.

“Chemical abortions put at risk perfectly healthy mothers who are pregnant with perfectly healthy babies,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “No woman’s life should be placed at risk because abortion activists are trying to score political points.”

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 caused documented “adverse events” including serious infections, severe hemorrhage, and the rupture of previously undiscovered ectopic pregnancies. There is a real possibility that a woman experiencing any of these adverse events may end up in the emergency room because of hemorrhaging, severe pain, an incomplete abortion, or a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

The FDA calls for a “risk evaluation and mitigation strategy” or REMS for drugs that may cause life-threatening side effects. Under REMS guidelines, the FDA requires that the mifepristone/misoprostol abortion-drug combination be dispensed in approved locations such as hospitals, medical clinics or doctor’s offices. It also requires that a woman receives the prescription from a certified healthcare provider and the provider must ensure that the woman understands the dangers and potential side effects.

“The abortion industry’s objective is to make access to chemical abortions easy to get,” said Tobias. “The end goal is to have it sent through the mail making possible ‘Do-It-Yourself’ abortions.”

Pro-life leaders both in and out of Congress have written the FDA to stand resolute and to also seize websites selling abortion drugs illegally in the United States and to investigate illegal internet sales of abortion-inducing drugs.

In a letter sent to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., thirty-eight Senators and 121 Representatives urged “robust enforcement” of the REMS involving the mifepristone abortion-drug process. The members of Congress wrote,

Despite claims that medication abortion is safe and easy, research proves that as many as five to seven percent of women who take abortion drugs will require follow-up surgery, and three percent could end up in the emergency room. Self-managed abortions from home are especially dangerous; in fact, half of abortion providers do not consider them safe, according to a 2019 survey published in the journal Contraception. Further, medication abortion becomes even more dangerous in situations where women cannot access emergency medical care. This is especially concerning during the COVID-19 pandemic as emergency rooms are currently being overwhelmed.

National Right to Life joined more than four dozen pro-life and pro-family groups in a letter sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking the FDA to take action against the illegal sale of abortion-inducing drugs. The letter can be found here.

“Internet sales of mifepristone have the potential to multiply the inherent dangers of the drug combination, further endangering women’s lives which are already at risk in the abortion procedure,” said Tobias.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide assisted suicide and euthanasia.