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April 14, 2021

Biden FDA Suspends Regulations Requiring Women to Receive Abortion Pills In-Person

photo credit: Volodymyr Hryshchenko / Unsplash
In an April 12th letter, FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock announced that the FDA would suspend its enforcement of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) regulations limiting the distribution of the abortion pill mifepristone for the duration of the pandemic.

Pro-abortion organizations have been advocating for this change for nearly a year, now. They argue that REMS regulations endanger women by requiring them to visit abortion clinics in person; potentially exposing them to COVID-19. Instead, they argue that women should be able to receive abortion pills through the mail after consulting a doctor over the phone or in a video call.

REMS safety precautions were put in place for a reason, however.

If a pregnant mother receives abortion pills without ever visiting a doctor, they will not be able to diagnose pregnancy conditions or determine the gestational age of the baby. If a mother attempts to take the abortion pill regimen while she has an ectopic pregnancy, or if the baby has developed past the point that the abortion pill regimen is effective, then the abortion pill regimen could cause substantial harm to the mother.

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias responded to the announcement:

“These changes place women at greater risk because they may not be able to distinguish the signs of an incomplete abortion, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or a deadly infection from the ordinary pain and bleeding of completed chemical abortion. None of these changes make this process safer for the woman. What these changes do is make the process easier and cheaper for the abortion industry.”

In the announcement, Woodcock wrote that the “small number of adverse events reported to FDA during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) provided no indication that any program deviation or noncompliance with the Mifepristone REMS contributed to the reported adverse events.” She failed to realize, however, that REMS changes made under the Obama administration in 2016 no longer require the manufacturer of the abortion pill, Danco Laboratories or its generic GenBioPro to report non-fatal adverse effects.

While these changes are being advertised as temporary reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, many pro-life advocates fear that they will soon become permanent.

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