DA Changes to Abortion Drug Rules Move Texas in Wrong Direction

Wednesday the FDA released a new medication guide for Mifiprex (also known as RU-486) along with another drug called misoprostal, to cause a drug-induced abortion. Mifiprex is intended to kill the unborn child, and misoprostal is used to expel the dead child.

We regret that the FDA appears to be increasing the risk to the health and safety of women undergoing drug-induced abortions in their attempt to make those abortions cheaper and easier for abortion facilities to provide.

The FDA's actions move Texas backward, not forward.

In 2013, the State Legislature passed HB 2 by a wide margin to increase safety standards at abortion facilities. More than 16,000 drug-induced abortions were performed in Texas in 2013, and more than 18,000 were performed the previous year.

Before HB 2, no physician had to be present during drug-induced abortions, and there were no legal limits for using RU-486 anytime in pregnancy.

HB 2 moved Texas forward in terms of safety regulations. Under HB 2 and the previous FDA regimen, the physician had to be present whenever the abortion drugs were administered, and the method could only be used during the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

Under the new FDA regimen, the woman undergoing the abortion need not be present at the abortion facility when the second drug is administered. The woman can even take it at home. That makes the physician unavailable to answer patient questions and treat complications.

We find that very troubling because misoprostal frequently causes women to undergo significant hemorrhaging.

The new FDA regimen also increases the gestational age from seven to 10 weeks during which the drug-induced method may be used, significantly increasing the risk of infection and incomplete abortion according to peer-reviewed research published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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