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 Mace for Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives may be nearing a compromise that would remove an attempt to prohibit mail distribution of abortion pills from an upcoming spending bill for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for relaxing abortifacient rules in violation of federal law.

In December 2021, the Biden administration FDA eliminated its requirement that abortion pills be dispensed in person, allowing pharmacists to instead send them through the mail as long as the recipient has a prescription. The following month, the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) declared mail distribution of abortion pills lawful despite federal law expressly stating otherwise.

Pro-life medical and religious freedom groups sued, eventually leading a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule against the FDA in August, while confirming the final outcome would rest with the U.S. Supreme Court. The administration appealed the decision to the nation’s highest court earlier this month. The 5th Circuit decision is stayed from taking effect until the justices weigh in.

The GOP-controlled House is currently involved in bitter disputes with both the White House and members of its own party over a range of spending priorities, including a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and FDA. Politico reported September 13 that efforts by some Republicans to include a provision banning mail distribution of abortion pills was met with hostility by more moderate Republicans such as New York U.S. Reps. Marc Molinaro and Mike Lawler, scuttling plans for the GOP to pass a spending bill of its own to contrast with Senate Democrats’.

On September 21, Politico’s Meredith Lee Hill followed up that an amendment to the GOP spending bill is expected to be proposed that would bring moderate Republicans back on board, by eliminating the ban on mailing abortion pills. The amendment is reportedly the work of liberal Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who has condemned heartbeat laws as “not compassionate,” blamed the pro-life cause for Republicans’ underperformance in last year’s midterm elections, and encouraged the Biden administration to simply ignore an earlier court ruling against FDA approval of abortion pills.

If the amendment is passed and the final bill is ultimately approved, acquiescing to the FDA’s illegal abortion pill decision will likely further exacerbate long-simmering tensions between the GOP’s moderate leadership and conservative base, which has long accused the party of surrendering too easily in budget disputes.

Evidence shows that abortion pills carry specific risks for the mothers who take them (on top of being lethal to their preborn children), especially when the standards for taking them continue to be relaxed.

A 2020 open letter from a coalition of pro-life groups to then-FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn noted that the FDA’s own adverse reporting system says 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.”

Pro-lifers warn that with the Biden administration completely eliminating requirements that abortion pills be taken under any medical supervision or with medical support close by, those events are certain to increase. 

“A November 2021 study by Charlotte Lozier Institute scholars appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology,” wrote Catholic University of America research associate Michael New. “They analyzed state Medicaid data of over 400,000 abortions from 17 states that fund elective abortions through their Medicaid programs. They found that the rate of abortion-pill-related emergency-room visits increased over 500 percent from 2002 through 2015. The rate of emergency-room visits for surgical abortions also increased during the same time period, but by a much smaller margin.’”

Yet the White House and the abortion lobby have determined that, with the overturn of Roe v. Wade last year allowing states to directly ban abortion for the first time in half a century, easy distribution of abortion pills across state lines is one of their most potent tactics for preserving abortion “access.

In November 2022, Operation Rescue reported that a net decrease of 36 abortion facilities in 2022 led to the lowest number in almost 50 years, yet the chemical abortion business “surged” with 64% of new facilities built last year specializing in dispensing mifepristone and misoprostol.