126 Senators, House Members Warn of Health Threats to Women, Point to Studies Affirming Increased Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and U.S. Congressman Bob Latta (R-Ohio), with 124 colleagues from the Senate and House of Representatives, today demanded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) immediately restore more stringent oversight of chemical abortion pills, including the in-person dispensing requirement the FDA suspended in December.

The lawmakers on Friday issued a letter to newly-confirmed FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. that cites studies that affirm the increased health risks to women who use the chemical abortion drug mifepristone.  The FDA in December removed in-person dispensing requirements from the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for mifepristone, clearing the way for widespread mail-order distribution of the drug.

“Indefinitely eliminating the REMS in-person requirement eliminates the minimal guardrails established to protect women’s health.  This action promotes mail-order abortion-on-demand and disregards the growing threat to women’s health posed by chemical abortion drugs.  Further, the agency abandons vulnerable pregnant women to the reckless and predatory actions of the abortion industry,” the letter said.

The letter cites research showing the increased serious risks associated with mifepristone, including a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study, published in November 2021 that found the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased by more than 500 percent from 2002 through 2015.

“In addition to the loss of the unborn child, chemical abortion drugs present serious risk to the health of the mother, including severe bleeding, infection, the need for surgical intervention, and even death.   In fact, chemical abortions are four times more dangerous than surgical abortions.   These health risks necessitate, at minimum, in-person screening by a physician,” the letter states.

Hyde-Smith and Latta last year introduced the Support and Value Expectant (SAVE) Moms and Babies Act of 2021 (S.78 and HR.554) to prevent labeling changes for already-approved abortion drugs; prevent providers from dispensing these drugs remotely, by mail, or via tele-medicine; and prevent FDA approval of new chemical abortion drugs.

Overall, the letter was signed by 35 Senators and 81 Members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. Representatives Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) and Michael Guest (R-Miss.).

Read the bicameral letter to Califf here.