President Donald Trump’s administration is fighting back against powerful abortion advocacy groups’ attempts to weaken safety regulations that protect mothers and unborn babies from dangerous at-home abortions.
On Wednesday, lawyers for the Republican administration filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule that requires abortion facilities to provide the abortion drug mifepristone to women in person, rather than by mail, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Abortion activists with the ACLU and other groups have been pushing for the deregulation of the dangerous drugs, using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to claim that the regulation puts women at risk.
In July, a federal judge blocked the FDA regulation and, then in August, an appeals court denied the Trump administration’s request to reinstate the rule. Now, the administration is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, responded to the news on Twitter by thanking the president for protecting women’s and children’s health.
“Thank you to Donald Trump for defending common sense safety standards on chemical abortions,” she wrote. “A thought: If the abortion industry can’t be bothered to make sure abortion pills won’t render a woman infertile or kill her, then maybe they should stop handing them out?”
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.
However, pro-abortion groups and the abortion industry are pushing to end regulations on it and allow at-home abortions without a woman ever seeing a doctor in person.
Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, claimed the FDA rule risks women’s health by requiring “unnecessary trips” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With COVID-19 raging across the nation—and despite being rebuffed twice in the courts—the Trump administration refuses to end its crusade to subject abortion patients and their families to entirely unnecessary exposure risks,” Kaye said. “Forcing patients to travel during a pandemic just to pick up a pill is irrational and dangerous, which is why the medical community uniformly opposes this senseless rule.”
The ACLU is challenging the rule on behalf of the Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York State Academy of Family Physicians, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and an individual doctor.
Abortion activists downplay the risks, but the consequences of de-regulating the abortion drug already 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 – including at least two women’s deaths. In another 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 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.
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.