Arkansas Bills OKd Licensing Abortion Facilities, RU 486 Drug

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2011   |   5:46PM   |   Little Rock, AR

The Arkansas state House unanimously, on a 88-0 vote today, approved legislation to 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 on Thursday 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.

The House approved the bill with no debate or discussion beforehand. Meanwhile, the state Senate approved two bills accomplishing the same purposes,

Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest commended Arkansas’ elected officials for their “landslide votes for life” in approving two bills that offer women unique protections.

She said the bills “show women that their health and safety is more important than politically correct support for a poorly regulated abortion industry.”

The Arkansas Senate voted 22 to 7 for SB 840, the Abortion Inducing Drugs Safety Act, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin.  In even greater numbers, the state senators voted 25 to 4 in support of Sen. Jason Rapert’s sponsored SB 845, the Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act, which upgrades clinic regulations to meet the standard of ambulatory surgical centers.

The Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act addresses the problem of dangerous conditions for women in abortion clinics. The bill will require abortion clinics to be licensed and inspected regularly by state officials and to meet the same high standards for patient care and safety as ambulatory surgical centers.

Referring to the abortionist indicted in Philadelphia for eight deaths in his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic, Dr. Yoest observed, “As the Gosnell case and other recent cases across the nation have shown, the abortion industry cannot be counted on to police itself.  For too long, substandard practitioners and dangerous clinics have been allowed to injure and endanger untold numbers of women each year.  We must place women’s health and safety above abortion industry profits and ideology.”

The Abortion Inducing Drugs Safety Act requires that physicians examine a woman before dispensing an abortion-inducing drug to assess the stage of the pregnancy and to ensure that she does not have any hidden conditions making the drug even more dangerous for her. It also requires that abortion-causing drugs not be administered in ways not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Abortion providers have been dispensing abortion drugs in an unsafe manner that serves only to boost their own profit margins, but it’s real women who pay the price when complications arise,” said Yoest.