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Anti-Reproductive Rights Legislators Seek to Suspend Availability of Mifepristone

Despite years of scientific study which repeatedly proved mifepristone to be safe and effect for medical abortion, Republican Congressman and Senator-elect Jim DeMint of South Carolina is planning on reintroducing a bill to suspend the sale of Mifepristone and allow the General Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate the process the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used to approve the drug. Rep. DeMint and the bill’s co-sponsors, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), have shown interested in renewing the effort to pass this bill after the FDA’s announcement that mifepristone’s label will be changed to acknowledge that there are risks associated with any abortion, and that physicians prescribing the drug should instruct their patients to contact them if they experience excessive bleeding or bacterial infection. The FDA maintains that these adverse affects could occur “following any termination of pregnancy,” including miscarriage, surgical abortion, or medical abortion, the San Francisco Gate reports. If passed, the GAO would conduct an independent review of the FDA’s approval process, according to Kaisernetwork.org. “There is no scientific or safety reason to suspend sale of mifepristone,” said Dr. Beth Jordan, Medical Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “While it’s important that patients and providers know well the risks, even the exceedingly rare risks, associated with a drug, it’s curious that these same legislators are not trying to get the safety of penicillin, aspirin, various anti-histamines or especially Viagra reviewed and the product suspended given the astronomically higher associations with complications these drugs have over mifepristone. Clearly, this is a politically motivated agenda.” “It’s an unequivocal yes that we will reintroduce the bill,” Lisa Wright, press secretary to Rep. Bartlett told the Washington Times. The bill, known as the RU-486 Suspension and Review Act, was originally introduced after the death of a California woman who had taken mifepristone. Dr. Steven Galson, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, has said that he does not think that mifepristone was related to the infection that killed the woman, the Washington Times reports. Mifepristone has been taken by roughly 360,000 women in the United States since it was approved by the FDA in 2000. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, mifepristone is safer than taking a pregnancy to full term. DONATE to protect the right to a safe, legal abortion

Sources:

Washington Times 11/18/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 11/18/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 11/17/04; Association of Reproductive Health Professionals