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Tipsheet

The FDA Is Making Abortion Even More Dangerous for Women

Charlie Neibergall

The Biden administration made the chemical abortion method even more dangerous in December of 2021 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permanently did away with safety regulations to do with the method, such as when it came to requiring an in-person visit for women to acquire abortion-inducing pills. That, as it turns out, wasn't enough. On Tuesday night it was revealed that retail pharmacies can now offer mifepristone, as POLITICO reported.

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The report, which uses the term "pregnant people" despite how it's only women who can get pregnant, explains that there is a certification process for where the method is not already banned. If a pharmacy is approved, they can stock and dispense the drug to women with a prescription. Currently, women can get it from their doctors or through the mail. 

It is also acknowledged that the move comes as many states are looking to ban or restrict abortion, including and when it comes to this method. In late June of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its Dobbs v. Jackson decision, sending the decision back to the people through their legislatures at the state and federal level. 

"But the FDA’s proposed rule opens new legal and regulatory fronts in the ongoing battle over abortion following the fall of Roe v. Wade, and is likely to draw lawsuits from anti-abortion groups and state officials," the report acknowledged. It also later points out that this method has been "the focus of some of the most heated legal, political and regulatory fights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022."

The Biden administration has been particularly fierce in its pro-abortion stance not only since the Dobbs decision was officially handed down, but since the draft opinion was leaked months prior, in early May of last year. A fact-sheet from last August about President Joe Biden's executive orders mentions abortion-inducing medication. 

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While the POLITICO report serves as a good summary of the rule involved, there's no mention of the risks and side effects of the method, or even how it works.

A woman first takes mifepristone, which starves her unborn child of nutrients. Then, 24-48 hours later, she takes misoprostol to cause contractions to expel the dead child, usually at home alone, in the bathroom. The method has been illustrated in the film "Unplanned" as well as on the This Is Chemical Abortion and Abortion Procedures websites.

Such a method carries with it four times the complications of surgical abortions. Side effects and risks associated with this method include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, fever/chills, and headaches. The bleeding may last for weeks after the abortion. 

The failure rates for this method, which create additional dangers for the woman, increase the further along the woman is, with the method having been approved to up to 10-weeks of pregnancy. By that stage, the failure rate can be over 7.3 percent. One study found a failure rate of 5 percent at seven weeks, 8 percent at eight weeks, and 10 percent at nine weeks. 

A study released in November 2021 by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) that showed emergency room visits following this method went up by 507 percent from 2002 to 2015. Most of these ER visits, over 60 percent, were miscoded as spontaneous miscarriages. The method gets more dangerous the further along a woman is in pregnancy though, and the method was expanded from seven- to 10-weeks in 2016. 

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Further, there's no mention of pro-life sources mentioned in the POLITICO report, though manufacturers of the drug, who have the clearest agenda of anyone, are cited promoting the rule change. 

Pro-lifers, which have been outspoken about the dangers of this method, also raised issues about this update. 

Dr. Michael New, a research associate at the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at CLI, provided a statement to Townhall, reminding of the dangers with this method, and warns that the "new rules established by the Biden administration's FDA will only increase those risks."

Additional risks Dr. New pointed to included how it can be fatal for a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy but undergoes this method. Serious health risks may also occur if a woman is farther along than the 10-weeks the method has been approved for. 

This has been illustrated using research from other countries as well. 

"In early 2020, the U.K. began allowing women to obtain chemical abortions via telemedicine.  Researcher Kevin Duffy found that between 2019 and 2020, emergency calls for follow-up care after a chemical abortion increased by 54 percent when extrapolated across England and Wales, and ambulance responses rose by 19 percent. Furthermore, Britain’s Care Quality Commission identified eleven cases in which women went to the hospital after taking chemical-abortion pills via telemedicine beyond the gestational-age limit," Dr. New explained. Duffy, who used to work for the international abortion industry, has spoken out about the method as well. 

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But Dr. New points to how this specific move to directly involve pharmacies adds an even greater danger. "Another important concern is that research shows that many pharmacists are unaware of both the complications caused by chemical abortion drugs and state policies that regulate abortion," he warned. "A 2021 article in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that only 53 percent understood the risks of taking mifepristone and only 53 percent understood parental involvement laws for abortion. Additionally, less than one-third understood adverse effects from chemical abortion drugs such as fever and chills."

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which CLI is a project of, released a press release reminding people of the risks. The release included a statement from Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group's president, calling out the Biden administration for its abortion focus as well.

"The Biden administration has once again proved that it values abortion industry profits over women’s safety and unborn children’s lives. Abortion activists want to turn every post office and pharmacy into an abortion business, and the Biden FDA is a willing participant – even while studies show emergency rooms are being flooded with women suffering from serious, life-threatening complications caused by abortion drugs," said Dannenfelser. "Chemical abortion pills can cause dangerous complications including hemorrhage and infection, and complications are more likely when pills are dispensed without medical screening or follow-up care."

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Dannenfesler also called for pro-life action as a result. "Pro-life governors understand this threat, which is why many states have enacted safeguards to protect women and their unborn children. State lawmakers and Congress must stand as a bulwark against the Biden administration’s pro-abortion extremism. We hope to see the FDA do its job to protect the lives of women and put an end to chemical abortions," she added. 

Students for Life of America (SFLA), which put together the This Is Chemical Abortion website, likewise released a press release. 

"The Biden Administration is making dangerous Chemical Abortion Pills attainable at every corner as it lowers the medical standards for protecting women,” said Kristan Hawkins, SFLAction and SFLA President. "Making Chemical Abortion Pills accessible at your local pharmacy is certainly not the product of the 'safe, legal, and rare' lie we were fed as we fought for the reversal of Roe. The objective of this Administration has always been increased access to dangerous drugs which is why Students for Life has launched a multi-layered campaign to demand transparency and real tests into the impact of these pills on women and the environment."

Late last year, both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute released their abortion statistics for 2020. While there was a slight discrepancy in that the CDC showed abortion numbers slightly decreasing while Guttmacher showed a slight increase, both sets of data spoke to a dramatic increase in the chemical abortion method. As Dr. New shared with Townhall previously, it is likely that Guttmacher is more accurate. Regardless, the bottom line is that the chemical abortion method is something of the new frontier in the abortion battle.

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Walgreens and CVS have already come out in favor of dispensing the abortion drugs. 

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