Leading abortion advocacy groups are trying to chip away at the few restrictions America has on abortions.
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, challenging long-standing U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations on the abortion drug mifepristone, NPR reports.
The drug is dangerous and can be deadly to the mother as well as her unborn baby, but abortion activists are pushing the FDA to abandon its common-sense restrictions.
“Groups that claim to have women’s health care at heart are suing the FDA to overturn reasonable, lifesaving precautions related to chemical abortion,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Not only does the abortion drug destroy the life of the unborn child, this chemical coathanger poses a serious risk of potentially life-threatening complications.”
Dannenfelser’s and other pro-life organizations have been urging the Trump administration to maintain the FDA protections for the sake of mothers and unborn babies.
But abortion activists are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to challenge the protections in federal court.
The ACLU lawsuit, filed on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other pro-abortion groups, challenges a requirement that abortion facilities provide mifepristone to a woman in-person. Abortionists want to be allowed to mail abortion drugs to women without the woman ever seeing a medical professional in person.
Julia Kaye, an attorney with the ACLU, argued that the in-person requirement puts women at risk during the coronavirus crisis.
“A patient who has already been evaluated by a clinician, either through telemedicine or at a prior in person visit, still must make this entirely unnecessary trip just to pick up their prescription,” Kaye said, according to the report.
ACOG supports lifting the restrictions, called the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy or REMS, and has said they are medically unnecessary to preserve patient safety. In 2017, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Hawaii, seeking to force the FDA to remove the REMS for mifepristone.
But this new lawsuit is more narrow, Kaye said, in asking the court to suspend the rules during the pandemic only. The lawsuit asks for an emergency order allowing the mifepristone to be dispensed through the mail or by pharmacies. It notes that in other areas of medicine, federal agencies “have taken substantial action … to encourage telemedicine use” and “forego unnecessary in-person visits” during the coronavirus crisis.
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It’s clear, however, that abortion activists do not just want a temporary suspension of the regulation, nor are they really concerned about protecting women’s health, pro-life leaders said.
“Abortion doesn’t cure a disease called ‘pregnancy,’ doesn’t cure Covid-19 and doesn’t provide women with the economic, social or educational support they may need,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America.
Hawkins said more money for the abortion industry is the real goal.
Mifepristone has been linked to at least 24 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications. Risks of mifepristone and misoprostol, the most common abortion drugs taken together to abort and then expel an unborn baby from the womb, include excessive bleeding, severe abdominal pain, infection and hemorrhage.
A 2009 study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy,” in Obstetrics and Gynecology found a complication rate of approximately 20% for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6% for surgical abortions. Hemorrhages and incomplete abortions were among the most common complications.
The drugs are used up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, and the FDA recommends that they be provided in-person by a licensed medical professional. In-person exams are important for dating the pregnancy; the abortion drugs do not work well later in pregnancy and potentially could lead to more complications. Exams also can detect ectopic pregnancies, which can be deadly on their own but especially so if the woman takes the abortion drugs.
Pro-life leaders said ending the restrictions would be very bad for women.
“From the start, abortion advocates have sought to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to proliferate dangerous abortion drugs,” Dannenfelser said. “While the abortion industry and its allies promote these drugs as the safe, easy, nearly painless way to have an abortion, the truth is that women can experience intense pain, heavy bleeding, infection, and even death as a result of chemically-induced abortions.”
Even pro-abortion President Barack Obama did not entirely do away with the regulations for mifepristone. His administration did loosen the regulations by allowing the drug to be prescribed later in pregnancy and allowing non-doctors to provide it, but it kept other regulations in place to protect women’s safety.
And in England, which recently lifted similar restrictions on the abortion drug because of the coronavirus, there already are multiple reports of abuses. Police are investigating allegations that a woman bought the drugs via mail-order and used them to abort her viable, 28-week unborn baby — far past the legal abortion limit.
Hawkins said her organization has been working to raise awareness about the dangers of abortion on college campuses across the U.S., and their educational work will continue. She urged the FDA to fight for the life-saving regulations.
“Using this Covid-19 crisis to force the sales of life-ending drugs in ways that risk women’s lives should embarrass the abortion industry. But perhaps that is asking too much of people who end life for a living,” she said.
Pro-life advocates also have raised concerns about the abortion drugs being used for forced abortions. A Wisconsin man is facing charges after he allegedly bought abortion drugs online and tried to force his girlfriend to take them.
Women do not need to abort their unborn babies to be healthy. Recently, medical groups representing more than 30,000 doctors in America emphasized that abortions are not “essential” or “urgent,” and abortion facilities that continue to operate during the pandemic are being “medically irresponsible.”