The Biden administration announced April 13 that it abruptly reversed abortion pill safeguards that have been in place for two decades. Since 2000, the FDA has imposed “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies” or REMS on abortion drugs, mandating the first of the two-pill regimen be taken in the presence of a physician. These non-partisan safeguards were implemented because the drugs are not approved for abortion and many women experience serious medical complications after taking them.
Chemical abortion complications include severe pain, uterine rupture, and excessive bleeding requiring blood transfusions. Even Planned Parenthood reports that as many as 13% of chemical abortions will result in an incomplete abortion, which carries a significant risk of infection and sepsis. Some abortionists offer chemical abortions well into the second trimester when babies are fully developed and capable of feeling pain.
But this has not stopped abortionists from opposing the REMS as an “undue burden” on access to abortion and aggressively lobbying to abolish them. Last year the pro-abortion American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) filed a lawsuit to lift the restrictions during the COVID pandemic. A federal judge temporary halted the REMS, but the Trump administration appealed the decision and also sought review from the Supreme Court, which upheld the REMS until the lower court reached a decision on the appeal. On April 12, 2021, FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock notified ACOG that the FDA lifted the requirement that women obtain the drugs in person from a physician, thus circumventing the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The decision to do away with the in-person requirement for chemical abortion means abortion prescriptions will be given out via Zoom and the drugs can be ordered by mail.
Because women no longer have to take the first dose of the abortion pills in the presence of a physician, it will be impossible to know whether they actually take the drugs or not – or whether abortions are forced on them without their consent. Chemical abortions currently account for over 40% of all abortions, so data on abortion rates and complications will be unreliable at best, and ultimately meaningless.
Full story at Life Legal Defense Foundation.