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Death to safety at the FDA

The agency will allow abortion groups to keep selling the abortion pill online despite safety concerns


Death to safety at the FDA

Abortionists in the United States may dispense abortion pills through the mail during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news came in a letter late Monday from Food and Drug Administration acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In it, Woodcock announced the results of a review conducted by the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research that reportedly showed few medical complications associated with allowing women to obtain the drugs without an in-person consultation. Citing the risk of spreading the coronavirus during visits to abortion facilities, the FDA said it would not enforce the in-person rule for the duration of the pandemic. Pro-lifers, meanwhile, said the decision put political interests above women’s health. They encouraged states to pass legislation to protect mothers from the risks of mail-order abortions.

The FDA said it based its decision on external studies and reports of adverse events from 2020, which likely give a limited picture of the number of women harmed by the drugs. Many women who present in emergency rooms with severe bleeding or other complications don’t tell hospital staff that they took the abortion pill.

“This is completely political. There is nothing medical about this decision,” said Katie Glenn, government affairs counsel for Americans United for Life. She pointed to the reports of complications experienced by women in the United Kingdom who have received the abortion pill through the country’s Pills by Post program during the pandemic. They reported severe pain and bleeding during at-home abortions—sometimes because they waited past the recommended 10 weeks of pregnancy to take the pills.

In light of those reports, Glenn called it “crazy frustrating” that the FDA would remove safety protocols for the abortion pill while showing so much caution regarding COVID-19 vaccines. On Tuesday morning, the agency recommended states stop using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine because six women developed blood clots soon after taking it. One of those women died, while a second remains in critical condition. Almost 7 million Americans had received the vaccine as of Monday.

According to estimates from the FDA, almost 4 million women took the abortion pill between 2000 and 2018. From those women, the FDA gathered more than 4,000 reports of adverse events. About 1,000 women ended up in the hospital, 97 had ectopic pregnancies, and 24 died. Some of the deaths were from causes unrelated to the drug such as homicide or suicide, but the remainder of abortion-related deaths, in addition to the hospitalizations, should be more than enough to cause concern regarding the drug.

“Six in 6 million is enough to derail COVID vaccinations,” Glenn said. “And yet the FDA says… ‘Who needs them?’ about the medical precautions related to” the abortion pill.

Since President Joe Biden took office, pro-lifers have encouraged state legislators to pass bills to codify abortion pill safety precautions into law. Glenn testified last week in support of a Texas bill that outlines the rules for dispensing the abortion pill, including the requirement for an in-person consultation. Currently, Texas is one of many states with legal language that only tells abortionists to comply with FDA guidelines. As pro-abortion groups continue to chip away at those federal rules, new legislation would ensure safety for women in the state, Glenn said: “It is state laws currently that are going to be the way … we make sure that women get actual healthcare rather than just a quick abortion.”

Leah Savas

Leah is the life beat reporter for World News Group. She is a graduate of Hillsdale College and the World Journalism Institute and resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., with her husband, Stephen.


I so appreciate the fly-over picture, and the reminder of God’s faithful sovereignty. —Celina

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