Feminists react to possible restrictions on RU-486

Women’s rights advocates have learned that the FDA is discussing onerous restrictions on Mifepristone that would drastically limit its distribution and threaten the safety of physicians. Pro-choice leaders are in agreement that these unprecedented restrictions under discussion would be unacceptable and would represent undue government interference with medical practice and women’s right to abortion.

Restrictions mentioned included a registry of Mifepristone providers and a requirement that providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within one hour of their practices. As commonly practiced today, an abortion provider might have an agreement with a backup doctor for admittance. However, surgical backup at a hospital is rarely, if ever needed with Mifepristone. These and other unnecessary restrictions mentioned would be so limiting that doctors would simply refuse to use it. What women’s rights advocates fear is that if something like this were to happen, Mifepristone would be approved but its use rendered null.

“Any restrictions under discussion are wholly unacceptable, unnecessary, and dangerous,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Mifepristone is available throughout Europe and China. Millions of women have used it safely and effectively. In fact, in 1996 the FDA itself ruled that Mifepristone was safe and efficacious. It is outrageous that its use has been denied to women in the United States this long.” The lack of availability of Mifepristone in the US is hampering research on the treatment of very serious illnesses. “The unavailability of Mifepristone has had a negative impact on research for treatment of serious uterine, breast, ovarian, and brain tumors,” commented Smeal.

Leaders of the women’s movement will be conducting a panel on Mifepristone’s impact worldwide later today as part of UN Beijing +5 activities. The event, open to the public, will take place at Hunter College in New York City from 2:00-3:30 PM. Panelists include: Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation; Jennifer Jackman, Ph.D., Director of Policy and Research for the Feminist Majority Foundation; Dr. Regine Sitruk-Ware; Larry Lader, President of Abortion Rights Mobilization; Agneta Strom from Norway Women’s Front.

Let the White House know that you oppose these restrictions by calling (202) 456-1414 to be transferred to the White House Comments Office.


Feminist Majority Foundation

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