The American Civil Liberties Union is pushing to expand abortions by challenging U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety regulations on abortion drugs.
In a lawsuit filed in May, the pro-abortion legal group argued that the FDA should allow abortion drugs to be mailed to women, rather than prescribed in person at an abortion facility or doctor’s office.
It claimed the regulations on the abortion drug mifepristone could cause “life-threatening risks” to patients, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The rule has “particularly severe implications for low-income people and people of color, who comprise a disproportionate share of impacted patients and who are already suffering and dying from COVID-19 at substantially higher rates,” the ACLU argued in the lawsuit.
The FDA requires that mifepristone be provided in-person by a medical professional to a woman who is up to 10 weeks pregnant. The drug is dangerous and can be deadly to the mother as well as her unborn baby.
The dangers of de-regulating the abortion drugs are being seen in England. In March, the British government temporarily allowed the abortion drugs to be mail-ordered during the pandemic. And already there are numerous reports of health and safety problems. In one case, authorities are investigating how a woman who was 28-weeks pregnant received the abortion drugs in the mail and used them to abort her viable, late-term unborn baby.
In the United States, 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.
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Pro-abortion groups are not just aiming for a temporary suspension of the regulations either.
The plaintiffs insist that the COVID-19 outbreak is the reason for the suit, but in reality they are using the pandemic as cover to push for a policy they already wanted.
It is difficult to imagine that such a policy, if enacted, actually would be reversed when the COVID-19 outbreak dissipates. It is far easier to imagine that, if the policy were enacted and later reversed, the ACLU would then sue the government a second time. In fact, the ACLU already has a separate lawsuit pending against the Health and Human Services Department pushing to remove the safety regulations entirely.
The abortion 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.
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.
Pro-life leaders have been urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to protect lives by keeping the safety regulations in place. They 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.
The ACLU lawsuit is on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, New York State Academy of Family Physicians, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and a doctor.