Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), in a speech yesterday, voiced her strong opposition to the elimination of US funds for international family planning organizations and to the possible political review of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill RU 486.
Citing the Food and Drug Administration’s September 2000 approval of the drug, Clinton said, “I think the evidence of the efficacy and safety of RU 486 is convincing and I would be very concerned if a decisions were made on political grounds instead of on medical or scientific grounds.” In Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson’s confirmation hearing, he claimed that the medication’s safety is “in question” and may merit a review.
There are no legitimate safety issues “in question” when it comes to Ru-486. It is a safe, effective method of early abortion and a possible treatment for uterine fibroid tumors, meningiomas, ovarian cancer and a myriad of other diseases and conditions that particularly affect women. RU 486 has been used in France since 1988, in the United Kingdom since 1991, in Switzerland since 1992, and is now becoming even more widely available throughout Europe and the rest of the world. It has been used safely by hundreds of thousands of women worldwide. In its September 1996 “approveable” letter, the FDA ruled that RU 486 is safe and effective. Final approval of the drug in September 2000 made it crystal clear that mifepristone had met all FDA criteria.
Clinton also admonished Bush’s executive order to end US funding to international family planning organizations that counseled women on abortion or provided abortion services, even if those services were financed with separate, private funds.