On Monday, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter to the federal Food and Drug Administration questioning the agency’s recent move to relax its protocols for administering the RU-486 abortion drug.
The letter, which was signed by a total of 75 members of Congress, says the signatories are “deeply disappointed to learn that you have loosened FDA standards governing use of the abortion drug mifepristone,” which “has been associated with serious adverse events including hemorrhaging, severe infections and even deaths of mothers who have taken it.”
The new standards issued last month allow Mifeprex (one of the two pills RU-486 entails) to be prescribed in 200 milligram doses instead of 600, 70 days after the start of a woman’s last menstrual period instead of 49, and with one fewer trip to an abortionist’s office.
Pro-lifers suspect the change was made for political reasons rather than sound medicine because chemical abortion drugs have been linked to several deaths by sepsis and many personal accounts of negative experiences, particularly in a 2011 study finding that chemical abortions carry substantially higher rates of medical complications than surgical abortions.
In the letter, the lawmakers note the “extremely controversial” circumstances under which RU-486 was originally approved in the United States:
At the start of the Clinton administration, President Clinton issued an executive order instructing the FDA to re-evaluate the status of the abortion drug. Then-FDA Commissioner Kessler even urged the European patent-holder, Roussel Uclaf, to submit an application for approval of mifepristone. When mainstream drug manufacturers refused to bring this baby-killing drug to the United States, abortion proponents created Danco Laboratories for the sole purpose of distributing the abortion drug in the United States.
Smith, Lankford, and their colleagues request that by May 30, the FDA provide Congress with records detailing data on RU-486’s adverse effects, all applications Danco has submitted to the FDA since 2000, all studies done and information consulted to determine the impact of the protocol changes, and any communications about the policy between the FDA and the Obama White House, the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ office, Planned Parenthood, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and any other non-government bodies.
Other signatories include Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Joni Ernst, and Representatives Diane Black, Virginia Foxx, Steve King, and Alex Mooney.