Pro-life groups, including FRC, recently sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging him to reject the abortion industry’s request to lift restrictions off the abortion pill.
It is no secret that the industry has long been calling for the elimination of restrictions that keep the abortion pill from being an over-the-counter drug. They are now exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to continue to pressure HHS and FDA to remove safety protocols so that women can obtain abortions at home.
The abortion pill regimen, distributed under the brand name Mifeprex, carries life-threatening and health-endangering risks such as hemorrhage, infection, incomplete pregnancy, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and death. It is currently subject to the FDA’s drug safety program, known as the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). The Mifeprex REMS provide a way to monitor and mitigate the risks of the Mifeprex regimen while also preventing the sale and provision of abortion pills outside a clinical setting. The REMs are the lone barrier between abortion pills being sold in pharmacies or legally purchased online and received by mail.
Eliminating the REMs would mean abortion pills would be right next to Tylenol in drugstores, which would further trivialize the taking of innocent life. Making the abortion pill an easily attainable prescription or an over-the-counter (OTC) drug removes a physician from the initial process of abortion, putting women at incredible health risk. Such reckless access would also enable sexual abusers and exacerbate domestic violence that is already heightened amid the coronavirus quarantine. Prior to the pandemic, there were multiple cases of partners slipping abortion pills to women unknowingly. In a time of quarantine, we should not make it easier for unwilling fathers to harm mothers and children.
The Mifeprex REMS mandates that the drug can only be dispensed in certain health care settings and under the supervision of a certified prescriber who has the ability to properly assess a woman’s eligibility for undergoing a chemical abortion by confirming accurate pregnancy gestation and diagnosing any ectopic pregnancies in order to avoid severe complications that could lead to death.
A chemical abortion carries nearly four times the rate of severe complications as compared to surgical abortions, with the two most prevalent adverse effects being hemorrhage and incomplete abortion.
Incomplete abortion occurs up to 10 percent of the time and occurs more frequently as gestational age increases. If an abortion is incomplete, a woman is prescribed multiple doses of misoprostol, and if that fails, a physician must perform a surgical abortion to remove the fetal remains. Even the Mifeprex medication guide admits that “2-7% of women will need a surgical procedure to end the pregnancy or stop heavy bleeding.”
Even while the REMS are in place, there have been over 4,000 adverse events related to chemical abortions that have been reported to the FDA, which include 24 maternal deaths, 97 undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies, over a thousand hospitalizations, and hundreds of blood transfusions and infections. It’s important to note that these are just the adverse events reported to the FDA, so we do not have a full picture of the data.
By eliminating the REMS, the abortion industry is eliminating any direct physical oversight by a medical doctor or health care provider of the chemical abortion process. Similarly, eliminating the REMS would eliminate the physician’s ability to evaluate whether the woman is under pressure or is being coerced to abort.
Recently, 38 Senators and 121 Representatives sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., calling for “robust enforcement” of the existing REMS.
Any attempt to remove the REMS, particularly at a time like this, would not be alleviating the pressures on our health care system that is combatting COVID-19, and it certainly carries the potential to make things worse for women.
But all of this does not matter to the abortion industry. They abide by the leftist ideology of “never let a crisis go to waste,” so they continue abortion politics even at the expense of women’s safety. They regard drug-based abortions as the best way to get around the increasing pro-life protections around the United States. Do-it-yourself chemical abortions are primarily about making sure that abortion can survive in any future pro-life legal and policy environment, and the abortion industry is willing to even take advantage of a crisis in order to preserve the future of their business.
The abortion industry is undoubtedly anticipating an inevitable baby boom after a time of quarantining. By calling for the removal of the Mifeprex REMS with all the drug regimen’s documented dangers, it is evident that this is about the abortion industry’s political, ideological, and financial goals—not care for women.