A group of 20 Republican U.S. Senators, led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, issued a letter to the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, urging them to “classify the abortion pill as an ‘imminent hazard to the public health’ that poses a ‘significant threat of danger’ and remove this pill from the U.S. market.”
The letter, which was released exclusively to National Review, comes in response to a recent ruling by a Maryland federal judge which temporarily suspended FDA rules regulating the chemical-abortion pill known as RU-486 or Mifeprex.
FDA safety protocols require that the chemical-abortion pill be prescribed by a healthcare professional in-person. Abortion advocates are arguing that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, these regulations are a burden on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, represented by lawyers from the ACLU, sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA in May to challenge the in-person rules.
U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang temporarily suspended the FDA’s abortion pill safety protocols in his 80-page decision.
Chuang’s ruling would allow for chemical-abortion pills to be mailed to patients during the pandemic, rather than prescribed in-person in order to 1) obtain an abortion in a timely manner, and 2) to protect a woman from exposing herself to COVID-19 by entering a clinic or a hospital.
“Particularly in light of the limited timeframe during which a medication abortion or any abortion must occur,” Chuang wrote, “such infringement on the right to an abortion would constitute irreparable harm.”
The letter from GOP Senators called the COVID-19 exception to the FDA’s regulations “a ruse” in a pro-abortion effort to expand abortion access beyond the boundaries of safety.
“We believe this rogue judicial activism is a gross breach of the separation of powers,” the letter reads, “undermining the FDA’s statutory authority to ensure drug safety, while recklessly endangering American women and children.”
The letter calls the FDA’s approval process of the pill back in 2000 under the Clinton administration a rushed effort that “should never have happened.”
“…pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness” that warranted a rushed approval process, they argue, “and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.”
The letter calls the FDA to hold fast to their regulations, citing the dangers that the pill poses to women.
According to the letter, the abortion pill is a greater health risk than surgical abortions during the early stages of pregnancy, and claims that 5-7% of women have had to endure follow-up surgical abortions due to a failure of the abortion pill.
The FDA’s requirement for in-person care by a health professional is a necessary standard to ensure that women obtain their abortion without any unnecessary complications.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony list, called the FDA regulations “reasonable and necessary to protect women from serious and potentially life-threatening complications of abortion drugs, including intense pain, heavy bleeding, infection, and even death.”
The chemical-abortion pill has been used by over 4 million women in the U.S., and in 2017, it made up for 39% of all U.S. abortions.