Regulations that protect women and unborn babies from a dangerous abortion drug will remain blocked after a federal judge ruled against President Donald Trump’s administration Wednesday.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, of Maryland, means abortion facilities may continue to send the abortion drug mifepristone to women in the mail, potentially without ever seeing them in person for a check-up or exam.
Mifepristone is used to abort unborn babies up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
The AP reports Chaung suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules for the abortion drug in July after the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Civil Liberties Union and other pro-abortion groups sued. They argued that the FDA should halt its requirement that the drug be provided in person because it would protect women from potential exposure to the coronavirus at an abortion facility.
The Trump administration appealed the ruling, pointing to changes with the coronavirus situation, but Chaung rejected its arguments, according to the report.
“Accordingly, while the progress on vaccines and medical treatments for COVID-19 are cause for optimism and may advance the day that the Preliminary Injunction will no longer be warranted, the impact of these advances to date has not meaningfully altered the current health risks and obstacles to women seeking medication abortions,” the judge wrote.
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He also refused to limit his order geographically, meaning it applies to the whole United States, the report continues. Chuang said the pandemic remains “uniformly dire across the nation.”
“Thus, at the present time, there is no meaningful basis by which to distinguish one state or region from others as uniquely free from the health risks, and thus the undue burden, imposed by the COVlD-19 pandemic,” he wrote.
The dangers of de-regulating the abortion drugs are serious, and the consequences are being seen in England. In March, the British government temporarily allowed the abortion drugs to be mail-ordered during the pandemic. By July, reports began to surface of women dying after taking the drugs. In another case, a woman who was 28-weeks pregnant allegedly received the abortion drugs in the mail and used them to abort her viable, late-term unborn baby past the legal abortion limit.
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 the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found a complication rate of approximately 20 percent for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6 percent 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 recently was accused of buying abortion drugs online and trying 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.