Several U.S. Senators questioned President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the FDA on Tuesday about maintaining safety regulations on the dangerous abortion drug mifepristone.
Dr. Robert Califf, Biden’s choice for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, also served in the role under President Barack Obama. Under Califf’s leadership, the FDA weakened safety regulations for the drug, also known as RU-486 or Mifeprex.
Now, the Biden administration is considering getting rid of even more of the safety regulations, and several Republican senators wanted to know if Califf would support such changes as allowing abortion businesses to sell abortion drugs through the mail without ever seeing the woman in person.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, asked Califf about his abortion actions under the Obama administration and if he supports weakening the safety regulations even more.
Califf said the FDA is re-evaluating the regulations, but he currently is not involved in the process.
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“I can assure you the staff will be looking at the latest data and applying the best science and make the best possible decision. I have confidence in that staff and I know them well,” Califf said.
U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, an OB-GYN from Kansas, also confronted Califf about the dangers of de-regulating the abortion drug.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had to take care of patients with complications from it, typically in the emergency room,” Marshall said. “These patients not only have physical complications, hemorrhaging and bleeding, but certain psychological challenges after they’ve had that abortion, this kind of remorse afterward. I’m very troubled by HHS’s casual attitude about prescribing RU-486.”
In the United States, the FDA has linked the abortion drug to at least 24 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications. Notably, however, under Califf, the FDA stopped requiring that non-fatal complications from mifepristone be reported to the government. So the numbers very well could be higher.
Mifepristone is an abortion drug used to abort unborn babies up to about 10 weeks of pregnancy. It works by blocking the hormone progesterone and basically starving the unborn baby to death. Typically, women also are prescribed a second drug, misoprostol, that induces labor and expels their aborted baby’s body.
For many years, the FDA has required licensed medical professionals to provide mifepristone in-person after a medical exam – safety regulations that protect women from potentially life-threatening complications.
In April, however, the Biden administration used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to stop enforcing these safety regulations. Now, it is considering doing away with them altogether.
Pro-life leaders warned that doing so would put even more women’s and unborn babies’ lives at risk.
“It’s clear that reckless change is in the works,” Students for Life Action president Kristan Hawkins said.
Hawkins urged the U.S. Senate to oppose Califf’s nomination. Her organization also recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out if the Biden administration is colluding with the abortion industry to end safety regulations on the abortion drug.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, also opposes the nomination, saying Califf’s record shows a disregard for Americans’ life and health.
“As a direct result of his actions, women are being lied to about the so-called ‘efficacy’ and ‘safety’ of these drugs,” Dannenfelser said. “If confirmed, Califf will work hand-in-hand with Joe Biden, Xavier Becerra, and the radical abortion lobby to make every mailbox, post office and pharmacy in America function as an abortion center. He must not be confirmed.”
She pointed to a new study by Dr. James Studnicki and a team of experts at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which found a 500-percent increase in abortion-related emergency room visits among women taking abortion drugs between 2002 and 2015.
Growing research shows the abortion drug is not safe for mothers or their unborn babies.
In the United Kingdom, new government health data shows a massive hospitalization rate due to abortion drugs after the government began allowing mail-order abortion drugs in 2020. According to the data, more than 10,000 women who received the abortion drugs by mail needed hospital treatment in 2020, or about one in 17 women.
A 2009 study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy,” in “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.
Another study, published in “Issues in Law & Medicine” in January, found “glaring deficiencies” in reports documenting complications from the abortion drug in the U.S. The most common complications included a failed abortion, an incomplete abortion (meaning part of the unborn baby or placenta remained in the womb), infection and a missed ectopic pregnancy, according to the research.
Many also are concerned that the change will lead to more coercion and abuse. LifeNews has documented numerous stories of women who were forced or coerced into aborting their unborn babies or abused because they refused to do so, and studies show high rates of coercion and abuse among women who have abortions. In one recent case, a Wisconsin man was accused of buying abortion drugs online and slipping them into his pregnant girlfriend’s drink after she refused to have an abortion.
ACTION ALERT: Contact your members of the Senate to urge a No vote against Califf’s nomination.