Chemical abortion drugs targeted in bill introduced on Capitol Hill by Arkansas senator

Arkansas News

The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump come at the very time that Capitol Hill usually tends to its mound of unfinished business. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (News release) — (12/19/19) Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), this week introduced legislation to protect women by controlling the distribution of chemical abortion drugs, which have high complication rates for incomplete abortions, infections, severe bleeding, and death.

The Support and Value Expectant (SAVE) Moms and Babies Act would prevent labeling changes for already-approved abortion drugs; prevent providers from dispensing these drugs remotely, by mail, or via tele-medicine; and prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from approving new chemical abortion drugs.

“The abortion pill can do serious harm to pregnant women, and making it more available would be deadly. Our bill would protect women and their babies from reckless campaigns to push the abortion pill by codifying important FDA regulations of this dangerous drug,” Cotton said.

“Although abortion rates are declining nationwide, rates of chemical abortion are increasing dramatically. Increased use of abortion pills may give the impression that these procedures are safe, when in fact they are quite dangerous. Making chemical abortion pills more broadly available without proper medical oversight would endanger the lives of women. I am introducing this bill to codify the important FDA policy that protects women from dangers inherent in mail-order or do-it-yourself chemical abortions,” Hyde-Smith said.

In addition to restricting the availability of chemical abortion drugs, the measure would also retain the FDA-imposed Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) currently applied to these drugs due to known or potential serious risk associated with the medication. It would also require medical practitioners to report to the FDA adverse events experienced by patients using an abortion drug.

In 2017, chemical abortions made up 39 percent of abortions reported by the 32 states that require reporting on specific abortion methods, up from 5.5 percent in 2001.

Original cosponsors include Senators Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).

Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), March for Life Action, National Right to Life, Family Research Council, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are among the groups that support the bill.

“We are grateful to Senator Hyde-Smith for championing legislation to fight the reckless expansion of chemical abortion,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The abortion lobby has attempted to interfere with protective FDA regulations and flood the U.S. market with dangerous abortion drugs from overseas, threatening the health and safety of vulnerable women. On the heels of an abandoned study designed to discredit pro-life abortion pill reversal, which only proved the serious and potentially deadly risks inherent to abortion pills, the need for this bill could not be more pressing. We strongly support the SAVE Moms & Babies Act and urge Congress to pass it swiftly.”

A summary of the SAVE Moms and Babies Act is available here.

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