Sounding the alarm on the administration’s recent action on abortion pills
Last week, Joe Biden’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) severely weakened longstanding federal safety regulations on chemical abortion drugs. In addition, the Senate last week held a rushed hearing to consider Robert M. Califf, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner under Barack Obama, for the same position under Joe Biden. During his previous tenure, Califf showed reckless disregard for women’s health and safety when he removed these safeguards and opened the door for future administrations to do the same — and make those changes permanent. This administration and their pro-abortion allies are pushing the next grim frontier of abortion before our eyes: do-it-yourself abortions by mail, with no in-person medical oversight. Yes — you read that right.
As pro-life women leaders, one of us the sole woman pharmacist serving in Congress, the other a long-time advocate for protecting mothers and their children, we are gravely concerned about this looming public health threat. Pro-abortion Democrats want a virtual Wild West where every post office and pharmacy functions as an abortion center, with access to potentially life-threatening drugs at the click of a button.
These drugs are lucrative for abortion businesses, which have seen their brick-and-mortar facilities dwindle due to successful pro-life campaigns. Shamefully, the abortion industry cares more about upping their abortion quota and making a profit than the safety and well-being of vulnerable women and girls. They downplay the risks, telling patients chemical abortion drugs are “safer than Tylenol” — but they are far from the safe, easy, and near-painless solution to pregnancy that the industry would have women believe. Complications can include severe pain, heavy bleeding, infections, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, and even death.
A look at the research reveals the truth. A comprehensive, longitudinal study just released, which analyzed over 400,000 abortion outcomes across a span of 17 years, found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits within 30 days of a chemical abortion increased by a stunning 500 percent from 2002 to 2015. This is a much greater increase than that of the surgical abortion-related ER visit rate.
As the Supreme Court considers whether states can protect unborn babies before viability in the Dobbs case, the Biden administration clearly sees expanding mail-order abortion drugs as its next move to undermine democratically enacted pro-life laws. We hope the Court will return this issue to the people and their representatives.
Thankfully, lawmakers across the country are fighting back against this major threat. In 2021, seven states enacted laws to stop dangerous chemical abortions. Some of these states even initiated a program that requires these pills to be certified and tracked by state Boards of Pharmacy, regardless of the FDA’s permissive stance. This enables pharmacists to ensure that patients receive accurate information and the highest standard of care, instead of shady pills and “doctors” who might dispense these drugs from another state or country. At least eight additional states are poised to take action next year.
Congress can act to safeguard women and children, too. I (Rep. Harshbarger) am proud to co-sponsor the Second Chance at Life Act to inform women that it may be possible to reverse the effects of a chemical abortion if the woman changes her mind. We also support legislation, introduced by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), that would stop mail-order abortion drugs and prevent the FDA from approving new abortion drugs or weakening existing standards.
Pro-life advocates everywhere must raise the alarm about chemical abortion and the Biden Democrats’ extreme agenda of abortion on demand without any limits. We refuse to ignore the facts and let women’s health and safety become a political casualty, as thousands of women and girls undergo dangerous abortions alone in bathrooms and dorm rooms with no one to intervene. While the Biden administration may refuse to protect women for the sake of abortion industry profit, we rise to the challenge of providing love, support, encouragement, and the truth they need to choose life.
Diana Harshbarger serves as representative for Tennessee’s 1st District. She is currently the only woman pharmacist serving in Congress. Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.