Unsupervised pandemic abortions
Abortion | A recent ruling puts pregnant women at a higher risk of complications
by Leah Hickman
Posted 7/17/20, 05:29 pm
A federal judge ruled on Monday that women can obtain abortion pills during the coronavirus pandemic without going to a medical facility. Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s previous rules, women seeking chemically induced abortions had to visit healthcare providers and take the first pill under supervision. Without these safeguards, women are at greater risk of taking the pill too late in their pregnancies or experiencing life-threatening complications without direct contact with a medical professional.
U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang found that “by causing certain patients to decide between forgoing or substantially delaying abortion care, or risking exposure to COVID-19 for themselves, their children, and family members,” the requirements present a burden to abortion access and are therefore unconstitutional during the pandemic.
But pro-life advocates said the lack of supervision could pose a threat to otherwise healthy pregnant women. The FDA website says medical supervision is “necessary to ensure the safe use of Mifeprex,” a brand of mifepristone and the first drug in the abortion pill regimen. The site advises women against buying the pill over the internet, saying, “You will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health.”
But that’s exactly what the ruling allows.
“This is not some benign ‘take-two-aspirin’ treatment,” National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias said. “Mifepristone abortions put at risk perfectly healthy mothers who are pregnant with perfectly healthy babies. … No woman’s life should be placed at risk because abortion activists are trying to score political points.”
The ruling moves the United States a step closer to countries like the United Kingdom, where the health ministry allows women to order abortion drugs over the phone after a brief consultation. Undercover investigators recently found that the U.K. companies dispensing abortion pills were not adequately screening their callers, sending the potentially dangerous drugs to women who had fake hospital registrations or whose pregnancies were past the legal cutoff for an abortion. One woman obtained and took the pills at 28 weeks of gestation and gave birth to a stillborn baby.
Pro-life advocates fear that the federal judge’s dismissal of the FDA regulations could lead to similar cases in the United States.
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