By Julie Marie Blake
Article Source

The story of abortion in America is not one of women’s rights or better health care—but one of negligence at every level. It’s filled with vulnerable women who have been lied to.

That is why four national medical associations and four doctors represented by Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a federal lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The explosive lawsuit—the first of its kind—documents how the FDA illegally authorized harmful chemical abortion drugs, then stripped away even the few flimsy safeguards in place to protect women and girls.

It’s not a pretty story. Chemical abortions now represent the majority of abortions in the United States. For years, Americans recognized that chemical abortion drugs were too untested and too dangerous to approve. But in 2000, just before President Bill Clinton left office, he pushed the FDA to approve the drugs despite inadequate testing. The FDA chose politics over science and, in a rush, legalized these drugs.

With that decision, the FDA failed Americans. It never studied the safety of the actual use of the drugs. It never researched the potential negative side effects of the hormone-blocking drug regimen on adolescent girls. It overstepped its authority by approving a dangerous, unnecessary drug without proper vetting, and then it eliminated the necessary safeguards around that drug.

Worse, since approving the dangerous chemical abortion drugs, the FDA has only relaxed restrictions on them. At first, doctors were required to see patients three times in person: once for the initial consultation and providing the first drug, once for the second drug, and a third time to confirm no fetal parts or tissue remain. Now, the FDA allows an abortionist to prescribe chemical abortion drugs via telemedicine and through the mail.

This means that, today, a woman can receive life-threatening drugs in the mail without even a single in-person appointment with an abortionist. She performs the dangerous abortion procedure alone, with no follow-up. In the all-too-frequent emergency situations that arise, emergency room doctors and regular OBGYNs have to fill the gap.

This mail-order abortion regime is carelessness bordering on malpractice. The FDA itself acknowledges that 26 women have died from complications after taking chemical abortion drugs since 2000—an estimate that is likely woefully low, considering the lack of reporting and tracking requirements around these drugs. Some of those deaths occurred because the women had an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy that ruptured. Had those women received a simple ultrasound in an OBGYN’s office, they may not have died.

Besides the reports of death, women have suffered horrendous infections, undergone emergency surgeries, hemorrhaged, and become infertile because of these drugs. One study ignored by the FDA showed that 1 out of 5 women who have a chemical abortion will seek medical attention afterwards. Up to 15 percent will hemorrhage, and 2 percent will suffer a serious infection.

In one instance, an abortionist assumed that a young woman was around six weeks pregnant; after completing the chemical abortion regimen, the woman delivered—in the toilet at her home, with no medical help—a lifeless, fully-formed baby around 30 to 36 weeks old.

This woman reported experiencing severe emotional and physical trauma from the abortion and the unaided home delivery of a nearly full-term dead baby. This is shocking negligence on the part of the abortionist, but technically, the FDA regulations do not protect women and girls from these traumas, because these regulations do not require an ultrasound.

It has become clear that the FDA is failing to protect vulnerable women. This is why four medical professional associations and four doctors are suing: to hold the federal agency accountable for its failure to protect all Americans and take these dangerous drugs off the market.

Julie Marie Blake is senior counsel for regulatory litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal).