In between primary elections and political speeches, news surfaced in recent weeks that the FDA loosened restrictions on the abortion pill—also known as RU-486. The abortion pill protocol, now available later in pregnancy, will be administered with fewer pills and one less clinic visit. While it reduces costs for the abortion industry, the effects on women’s health and safety will be detrimental.
This quiet (but significant) change was not a total surprise to me, having just researched this issue. When several states opted to limit use of the abortion pill in recent years, it had the potential to financially harm the abortion industry… so the pro-abortion lobby pushed the White House to change government policies.
RU-486 was originally approved in 2000, fast-tracked for approval four months before President Bill Clinton finished his second term. The new protocol includes a change in the dosage to 200 milligrams from 600 milligrams of Mifeprex and a much higher dosage of the second drug misoprostol. With the relabeling, it allows a chemical abortion up to a baby’s 10th week of development… a life that will be expelled at home rather than in a clinical setting.
This two-step process of ingesting multiple drugs results in a chemical abortion as Chris Gacek, senior fellow for regulatory policy at Family Research Council, explains: “The first drug is not sufficiently potent to reliably kill the developing embryo and expel the dead embryo or fetus, so a second drug, Misoprostol, is taken one to two days after to trigger the uterine contractions needed to expel the remaining viable embryo.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims its actions were based strictly on medical science—however the FDA is requiring the old label’s warnings to remain intact, which include the possibility of infection or death.
Anna Paprocki, staff attorney with Americans United for Life, notes how the FDA has re-stated the drug can be deadly and cannot be given without medical oversight: "The new label affirms the deadly realities of chemical abortion and underscores the need for in-person patient examination and follow-up care, as well as the fact that the abortion drug regimen presents serious risks to women's health.”
“While the abortion industry will falsely celebrate the label change as a green light to its practice of skirting regulations, it would be wise to remember that women and girls have been injured and killed by the abortion industry's flagrant disregard for the previous FDA label," Paprocki added.
Why the alarm over seemingly benign changes? There are at least five big issues here:
1. The major change now allows this RU-486 regimen to be provided three weeks later, from 49 days gestation to 70 days. The new FDA labeling for Mifeprex reveals an alarming increase in the drug’s failure rate during clinical trials—increasing by a factor of 10 when taken three weeks later in pregnancy. “The studies done show that the farther along the child is developed, the greater the failure rate for the regimen,” states the latest research.
Many women will not only endure the death of their child in the womb, but also the painful and dangerous effects of surgical intervention due to a drug they never should have taken.
2. When a pregnant woman takes Mifeprex, nutrients are blocked, causing the fetus to wither and die. One abortion support website states that the embryo may be visible, so recommends: "This can be distressing. It is best to flush everything down the toilet or to wrap the sanitary pads in a plastic bag and throw them away."
And what is being flushed down the toilet or thrown away? At 10 weeks—the maximum number of weeks the FDA is now allowing use of the abortion pill—the gender of the unborn child can be known. The baby can move his or her arms and legs. The heart is fully formed and beating; the face is recognizable and fingers and toes are visible. But once Mifeprex is ingested, that life is ended.
3. “The abortion pill is a huge cash cow for the abortion cartel, but the process of abortion using the abortion pill cocktail is long, painful, bloody and unpredictable for women and deadly for pre-born children,” says Troy Newman of Operation Rescue.
He continues, “Relaxing the usage protocols allows abortion businesses to step up their aggressive marketing of the drug to vulnerable pregnant women and plays into Planned Parenthood’s goal of selling the abortion drug at every one of their outlets, whether their facilities are equipped to cope with known abortion pill complications or not. This creates additional risks to women for the sake of Planned Parenthood’s increased profits.”
4. “Documentation demonstrating the impact on women's safety has not been made publicly available by the FDA,” says Randall O'Bannon, director of education and research at National Right to Life.
“It is obvious that the FDA's new protocol serves only the interests of the abortion industry by expanding their base of potential customers, increasing their profit margin and reducing the level of staff and amount of resources they have to devote to the patient,” notes O’Bannon. “It is clear whose interests it is the FDA is serving. It isn't the women, and it isn't the babies."
5. Abortion rates in America are already one-and-a-half times the total population of Canada. This change makes abortion easier and more prevalent. Through fetal genetic testing, parents will soon be able to learn more than ever before about their baby's medical conditions and aptitudes, causing abortion rates to escalate even further in an effort to have the “perfect baby.”
As one who counsels women considering abortion and those dealing with the aftermath, I see everyday how women in this country are not being given the whole story surrounding chemical abortion—what is happening to their bodies and that of their child—nor are they being informed of the emotional toll abortion carries.
Since 1973, women at the most vulnerable point in their lives continue to be pawns in a political chess match. If 2016 is truly the ‘year of the woman,’ then women should be up in arms about the lack of proper women’s health care in this country… including from a federal agency disregarding adverse effects of a complex drug protocol and bowing to political interests.
Debby Efurd serves as President of Initiative 180 and its program of abortion recovery, Peace After the Storm. She earned a bachelor’s degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University. Author of the book Go Tell It! released in 2015, Debby writes at DebbyEfurd.com and for Bound4LIFE International, a grassroots movement to pray for the ending of abortion, carry the spirit of adoption, and believe for revival and reformation.
Publication date: April 19, 2016