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RSC, Harshbarger lead pro-life legislation to nullify Biden rule change on chemical abortions

Jan 18, 2023
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern (OK-01) and Representative Diana Harshbarger (TN-01) introduced new legislation to rescind the Biden Administration’s December rule change eliminating in-person dispensing requirements for chemical abortion pills. This bill will also prevent the federal government from putting a similar rule in place in the future.

“Thanks to last year’s Dobbs decision, we have the opportunity to protect and empower life for the first time in a generation,” said Chairman Hern. “Chemical abortions are dangerous, not only to the unborn child, but also to the mother. The Biden Administration’s move to eliminate in-person dispensing requirements for use of these dangerous drugs was politically motivated and will put millions of women and babies in danger. We must fight every day for those unable to fight for themselves.”

Congresswoman Harshbarger said, “The FDA’s policy change for Mifepristone is the latest example of President Biden’s crusade toward abortion on-demand at any cost, even at the expense of women’s health. Chemical abortion drugs have been associated with staggering numbers of life-threatening complications. Every woman in America deserves to know the heightened risks involved with chemical abortions before they make a life-altering decision. My bill restores common-sense and proper safety prescriber requirements for the dispensing of these dangerous abortion drugs.”

This legislation is supported by multiple members of the pro-life movement, including:

Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Heritage Action: "The Biden administration has exploited the recent pandemic to advance their anti-life agenda by waiving long-standing medical safety requirements associated with chemical abortions. Taken together, the bills introduced today by Representatives Harshbarger and Hern are critical to prevent the dangerous expansion of access to abortion pills - by both the current and future administrations. The abortion industry and their radical friends in the Administration are endangering the health and lives of women with their policies. I encourage all Members to support these important bills. “

Connor Semelsberger, Director of Federal Affairs for Life and Human Dignity, Family Research Council: “Despite what the Biden administration may claim, there is mounting evidence of just how dangerous do-it-yourself chemical abortions are to both unborn children and their mothers. The latest action by the FDA to put pharmacies on the front lines of distributing abortion pills—without any real concern for how this move will impact maternal health—shows just how politicized the FDA has become. Thanks to pro-life leaders like Representatives Hern and Harshbarger, there is hope that this Congress will take back its role in providing oversight to the FDA and restore true health and safety measures for all Americans, including the unborn.”

Jordan Sekulow, President & CEO of American Center for Law and Justice Action: "ACLJ Action stands in strong support of nullifying the Food and Drug Administration’s dangerous rule change lifting safety restrictions for the abortion drug mifepristone. The Biden Administration’s willingness to sacrifice the health and safety of women to advance their goal of killing unborn children is unconscionable. ACLJ Action is proud to endorse this bill, which will both protect life and ensure pregnant women continue to receive the high standard of medical care that they deserve."

Terry Schilling, President of American Principles Project: “Democrats will make exceptions to any rule so long as they think it will help promote abortions. In this case, it’s especially appalling. As bad as the previous lax regulation from the FDA was, they’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Companies shouldn’t be able to sling dangerous pills online and intentionally induce miscarriages from afar in patients they’ve never even met. Furthermore, we shouldn't be empowering abusers by making it even easier for them to get their hands on abortion drugs. Anyone who calls themselves pro-life should support these bills."

Brent Leatherwood, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: "It has long been the view that pharmacies exist to provide medication that improves health and extends life. Allowing these pills to be dispensed in local pharmacies does the exact opposite. In the post-Roe moment, our priority should be saving lives and serving mothers, not taking life and hurting mothers."

Kris Ullman, President of Eagle Forum: "The Biden administration's actions to distribute chemical abortion drugs without proper medical evaluation is extremely dangerous to women. Rep. Harshbarger's legislation to nullify the final FDA rule that expands distribution of these drugs through telehealth and mail is urgently needed to save the lives of babies and their mothers. Eagle Forum urges all members of Congress to swiftly move this legislation forward."

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life: “The Biden Administration’s pill-pushing FDA has relaxed regulations on dangerous Chemical Abortion Pills despite a rising death toll while Planned Parenthood uses college campuses as an abortion vending machine. It’s time we protect vulnerable women, especially on college campuses, from Chemical Abortion Pills that are known to lead to injury, infertility, and even death. We’re grateful to work with Pro-Life Champions in Congress to introduce this legislation that can help safeguard women from the trauma of abortion while saving innocent babies in the womb.”

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America: “The Biden administration has proven that it values the abortion industry profits over the safety of unborn children and their mothers,” said Hon. Marilyn Musgrave Vice President of SBA Pro-Life America. “Chemical abortion pills can cause dangerous complications that are more likely to occur when pills are dispensed without a medical screening or follow-up care. We thank Representatives Hern and Harshbarger for pushing back against the Biden administration’s reckless pro-abortion extremism, and we urge their colleagues to support this life-saving bill.”

Herbert M. Newell IV President and Executive Director, Lifeline Children's Services: "Chemical abortions account for over half of all abortions in the United States, ending the lives of thousands of precious preborn babies. In addition to taking the lives of preborn children, the abortion pill has dangerous side effects on women’s health. One of the proper roles of government should be to protect the most vulnerable in society, not further hurt them. We believe that each person - born and unborn has innate dignity, worth, and value, and should be protected from the harmful abortion pill.”

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America: “President Biden abused a public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 to advance his pro-abortion agenda. Caving to pressure from activist groups like Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and others, his Administration removed safety guidelines that protect women from taking mail-order abortion drugs outside the oversight or care of a doctor. This is reckless and puts lives of women and their unborn children at serious health risk. No President should have the authority to abuse a public health emergency.  I support Rep. Hern’s bill because it will prevent this abuse.”

Liberty Counsel Action: "It is a tragedy that the FDA is making it even more convenient to kill unborn babies by simply taking pills. This federal agency should not be using taxpayer dollars to encourage women to commit human genocide. [...] Passage of these bills will certify that Congress recognizes the implications of the 2022 Dobbs ruling which returned the decision of securing rights for the unborn to the individual states. [ more]"

Thank you to Americans United for Life, March for Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Family Policy Alliance for supporting this legislation as well. 


Background Information

The Biden Administration’s Food and Drug Administration moved to formally eliminate in-person distribution of mifepristone, expanding the drug market for chemical abortion drugs to include retail pharmacies AND by mail order.

Multiple peer-reviewed studies confirm that women are at risk of severe side effects after taking chemical abortion pills - including hemorrhaging, the need for follow-up surgery, and even death. Studies have also found that after a chemical abortion there is a 53% greater risk for an ER visit for abortion complications than after a surgical abortion.

Hern & Harshbarger’s legislation nullifies the FDA’s rule change to the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for the abortion pill mifepristone. It also ends the ability for retail pharmacies and mail order services from distributing this chemical abortion drug, returning to in-person dispensing of the drug and prevents the Department of Health and Human Services from establishing and enforcing any substantially similar provision of a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy for mifepristone.