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Pro-life leaders ask for FDA crackdown on illegal sale of abortion drugs

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CNA Staff, May 5, 2020 / 01:00 pm MT (CNA).- A group of pro-life leaders on Tuesday asked the Trump administration to crack down on illegal internet sales of abortion-causing drugs.

More than a year after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned certain online providers of abortion-inducing drugs that they were breaking the law, pro-life leaders sent a letter to the FDA asking them to take action against the providers.

The pro-life coalition included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, and Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life.

In a letter to FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., they praised the FDA for maintaining its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program – which subjects a drug to enhanced scrutiny and regulation – for the abortion-causing drug Mifeprex. The mifepristone and misoprostol regimen, approved by the FDA in 2000 but kept on the REMS program, induces miscarriages in women before ten weeks of pregnancy.

The FDA’s risk mitigation program “REMS” is reserved for higher-risk medications; it requires a certified health care provider to prescribe them in a hospital, clinic, or medical office setting.

However, the safety guidelines “are meaningless” if the drug is sold “over the internet with impunity,” the letter stated, exhorting the FDA “to act now to stop this predatory and dangerous practice.”

There have been calls for the FDA to loosen its regulations of the abortion pill regimen during the new coronavirus pandemic, notably by the New York Times editorial board. Members of Congress wrote the FDA in April urging the administration to maintain its REMS process for the drugs.

In March of 2019, FDA warned online providers AidAccess and Rablon to stop proscribing chemical abortion drugs online. AidAccess, writes online prescriptions for the drugs that are filled out in India and mailed to women in the U.S., and Rablon is an online pharmacy network with websites such as AbortionPillRx.com and AbortPregnancy.com that offer mail-order access.

Rablon offered an “abortion pill pack” of mifepristone and misoprostol tablets, while AidAccess was offering “combination” packs of the drugs.

In its letter to AidAccess, the FDA said that the regimen “carries a risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects, including serious and sometimes fatal infections and prolonged heavy bleeding, which may be a sign of incomplete abortion or other complications.”

There are possible other online vendors of the abortion-causing drugs, the letter from pro-lifers said; for instance, the website Plan C provides rankings of the “best” online providers for the drugs.

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