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Keep FDA Safety Requirements and Nix Telemedicine Abortions

by | May 4, 2020

By Jonathan Imbody

Editor’s note.  This appeared on the webpage of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

Seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to pump up profits from abortions, the abortion industry and its advocates in state governments are lobbying to loosen abortion-related FDA safety requirements.

Twenty-one state attorneys general have written to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, “to request that you increase access to reproductive healthcare, including safe and legal abortion, during this pandemic. Specifically, as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) considers policy changes in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, we urge you to waive its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), or use FDA enforcement discretion, to allow certified prescribers to use telehealth for Mifepristone, the medication abortion prescription drug.”

Thankfully, pro-life Members of Congress and Christian Medical & Dental Associations [CMDA] also have written to Azar and Hahn, urging the officials to protect the health of women.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) led 38 Senators and 121 House Members in a bicameral letter that noted,

“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.”

Senior Vice President for Bioethics and Public Policy Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA, (Ethics), wrote in CMDA’s letter,

“The FDA gave Mifepristone a REMS designation because it is a drug with significant complications if not prescribed correctly. One essential criterion for prescribing Mifepristone is to establish that the pregnancy is less than 71 days in duration. Telemedicine is incapable of correctly ascertaining the gestational length of a pregnancy. Menstrual history is an inaccurate indicator of gestational age, even among reliable patients. If Mifepristone is given inadvertently to a woman beyond 70 days gestation, the potential danger of hemorrhage and its resulting complications rise significantly, thus placing the patient at significant risk of harm.”

Abortion is not healthcare, much less essential healthcare during a pandemic.

Besides protecting women’s health, we also want to offer alternatives such as pregnancy resource centers and adoption. By loving both mother and baby, and by engaging in public policy with credibility and courage, we can begin to rebuild a culture of life in our nation.

Mr. Imbody serves as Vice President for Government Relations with CMDA and directs the Christian Medical Association’s Washington Office.

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