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July 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) filed an appeal Monday of a federal court ruling blocking its regulation that women consult with a physician in-person to obtain abortion pills while under COVID-19 lockdowns.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang agreed to the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU’s) request to block the rule on behalf of several groups, including the pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG).

Chuang agreed that requiring mifepristone, the first half of the chemical abortion cocktail RU-486, to be administered in-person posed a “substantial obstacle” during a pandemic, and ruled that, “particularly in light of the limited timeframe during which a medication abortion or any abortion must occur, such infringement on the right to an abortion would constitute irreparable harm.”

The FDA appealed the decision Monday, Bloomberg Law reported, arguing that the groups that brought the suit lacked standing in the first place – noting the irony of the abortion industry claiming a “close relationship” with their customers when the “entire point” of telemed abortions “is to reduce plaintiffs’ relationship with their patients.”

“The purpose of the in-person dispensing requirement,” the FDA argued, “is not to monitor patients for complications, but rather to ensure that: (1) at the time of dispensing, the patient has the opportunity to receive counseling about the risk of serious complications associated with Mifeprex and what to do should they arise; and (2) there is no delay in the patient receiving their Mifeprex prescription, which could increase the risks of serious bleeding or infection.”

“The FDA was eloquent in breaking down the abortion industry arguments in favor of putting women at risk by getting rid of an in-person visit,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins responded. “Using a pandemic as justification for expanding a business that endanger lives is the worst kind of predatory profiteering, but it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from abortion sales teams.”

Pro-lifers contend that these “safe, home abortions” run the risk of placing additional, unnecessary strain on the healthcare system. “Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) argued

“Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion,” AAPLOG says. “Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage. Surgical abortions can also result in hemorrhage. Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”

Meanwhile, a coalition of pro-life groups, including Live Action, Samaritan's Purse, Susan B. Anthony List, Heritage Action, The American College of Pediatricians, AAPLOG, and more have sent an open letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to ban the abortion pill outright.

“This lethal drug that the FDA permits for killing innocent preborn children during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy is also highly dangerous for women,” the letter argued. “According to the FDA’s adverse event reporting system, the abortion pill has resulted in over 4,000 reported adverse events since 2000, including 24 maternal deaths. Adverse events are notoriously underreported to the FDA, and as of 2016, the FDA only requires abortion pill manufacturers to report maternal deaths.”

“Manufacturers gather this information from the prescribers, such as Planned Parenthood facilities,” the letter continued. “Yet, women who experience side effects like heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, or severe infections are likely to seek care at emergency rooms, not the abortion facilities where they received the pills. Since emergency rooms are not required to report abortion pill adverse events to the FDA, the true number of adverse events is impossible to assess.”