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Rebuffing pro-abortion attempts to exploit COVID-19 pandemic by removing needed safety precautions for chemical abortions

by | Apr 15, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

As you read yesterday, National Right to Life hailed the letter sent by 39 senators and 122 Members of the House to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., urging “robust enforcement” of the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) as it relates to chemical (“medication’) abortions. 

Abortion advocates have boldly sought to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to expand access to mail-order and telemedicine abortions—essentially seeking “Do-It-Yourself” abortions—by persuading the FDA to waive its “REMS restrictions or to use its enforcement discretion” to “allow certified prescribers to use telehealth for Mifepristone.”

In a joint letter signed by 21 pro-abortion Democrat Attorneys General, the signees insisted that REMS restrictions that require registration and certification of the prescriber and allow them to be ordered only directly from the distributor create “unnecessary barriers between women and abortion care, not only making it harder to find—for example, by prohibiting sale by retail or mail-order pharmacies—but also making it unappealing to prescribe.” 

But the letter sent by pro-life members of Congress to Dr. Hahn warns that medication abortions have a track record of deaths and thousands of “adverse events.”  They wrote

As you may know the New York Times editorial board and others have called for making medication abortions more widely accessible and with far less oversight—with an overturning of the REMS and an expansion of the stage of pregnancy at which Mifeprex [RU-486] may be prescribed. These demands are both reckless and dangerous. The FDA should stand confidently for the protection of women.

Despite claims that medication abortions is safe and easy, research proves as many as five to seven percent of women who take abortion drugs will require follow up surgery, and three percent could wind 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.

“In a pandemic, the abortion industry wants to place perfectly healthy mothers who are pregnant with perfectly healthy babies in danger,” said NRLC president Carol Tobias. 

The truth is, as Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, director of education & research for NRLC explains, is that “telehealth abortions would expose the worst and most dangerous features of chemical abortions. Besides potentially making a woman go through this horrific procedure all alone, encountering her child, unsure of whether her pain and cramping and bleeding are normal or whether she is bleeding to death, she also faces the prospect that the pills will not work. They fail anywhere from 2-7% of the time, and more often in the case of older unborn babies.”

He added, “Outcomes such as these, real possibilities, mean that she may have to return to the clinic or show up at the Emergency Room for additional pills or treatment, where contagion is rampant, where staff are overextended and stressed – the last place an immuno-compromised person wants to be. 

“Much better, in the time of pandemic, for the mother and child to stay safe, the mother at home and the child alive and growing in her womb.”

Categories: Legislation
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