Arkansas Cmte OKs Bill to License Centers Using Abortion Drug

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2011   |   4:03PM   |   Little Rock, AR

An Arkansas legislative committee has approved a bill that would require any medical center giving out the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug to women to be licensed by the state health department.

The drug is responsible for the deaths of at least 13 women worldwide and potentially as many as 30 or more, and, according to 2006 FDA figures, has injured at least 1,100 women — requiring everything from hospitalization to blood transfusions.

The Public Health Committee today passed the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Butch Wilkins saying that any medical office that distributes more than 10 abortion pills annually has to be licensed by the state. Health Department attorney Robert Brech told lawmakers the department would write out the rules since they are not specified in the legislation.

Murry Newbern of Planned Parenthood opposed the bill, saying it would merely make for an added expense and burden for abortion centers.

The bill follows the defeat of another pro-life piece of legislation earlier this session that would have ensured the state does not pay for abortions with taxpayer funds as part of the exchanges created under the Obamacare law. The state Senate approved the bill but, in February, the same committee that approved the abortion drug bill killed it.

New national statistics show the abortion drug is being used more when looking at the percentage of abortions that are surgical versus those involving mifepristone. The Guttmacher Institute report found 199,000 of the reported abortions, or roughly 16% of the total, involved the mifepristone abortion drug and that total represents a 24 percent increase in usage from the 2005 numbers.

Randy O’Bannon, the director of education and research at the National Right to Life Committee, said those numbers alarmed him because of the large number of women who have ended up hospitalized with hemorrhages, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, or serious infections, which have proven deadly on occasion.

“RU-486 not only goes after a whole new customer base with the false promise of an easy, safe alternative to surgical abortion, but its increased use lets the abortion industry shift to a method that that requires less overhead to administer, thereby adding to their ever-increasing bottom line,” Dr. O’Bannon noted.  “With the median cost of $490, Guttmacher found for a chemical abortion, the new method represents more than $97.5 million in gross revenues for an industry already making hundreds of millions of dollars.”