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Over 100 GOP lawmakers call on FDA to keep abortion drug restrictions

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF

Over 100 Republican lawmakers called on the Food and Drugs Administration Thursday to preserve restrictions on at-home abortion drugs.

Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Republican Ohio Rep. Bob Latta led the lawmakers in sending a letter to FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock highlighting President Joe Biden’s administration’s plans to lift the FDA’s restrictions on abortion drugs, allowing the abortion pills to be delivered by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The FDA should not remove or weaken the existing [risk evaluation and mitigation strategy] on mifepristone when the insufficient data available suggests that mifepristone endangers women’s health,” the letter said. “Requests to remove the in-person requirements for chemical abortion look the other way on women’s health and scientific data for the sake of advancing a political agenda.”

“Allowing this drug to be available without medical supervision will have dire consequences for women and children,” the letter added.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised the lawmakers for their efforts, warning that “the FDA’s decision to abandon safety regulations for abortion drugs is purely political, and prioritizes abortion industry profits over the health and safety of women.”

The Supreme Court backed former President Donald Trump’s policy in January that the pills could not be dispensed by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. But in a letter last week, Woodcock said that sending the drugs by mail will not increase risks for women and will protect those who want the drugs from COVID-19.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had challenged the Trump administration’s requirement shortly after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but the court declined to intervene, allowing abortion clinics to continue administering the drugs remotely. The justices in January granted the Trump administration’s request that the rules be reinstated in a 6-3 decision.

The Biden administration also put a cautionary pause April 13 on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine after six women reportedly developed “rare and severe” blood clots. The pause is recommended by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA.

The FDA had approved the use of the abortion drug mifepristone, also called Mifeprex, in 2000 for up to 10 weeks’ gestation. But the FDA explicitly warned that buyers should not purchase Mifeprex over the Internet “because they will bypass important safeguards designed to protect their health.”

The FDA updated its website April 13 to note that it conducted a “careful scientific review” of both in-person and by-mail dispensing of the drugs, “either by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber, or through a mail-order pharmacy when such dispensing is done under the supervision of a certified prescriber.”

The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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