This week pro-life members of Congress voiced serious concerns about abortion activists’ efforts to use the coronavirus crisis to expand access to abortion-inducing drugs and use fetal tissue from aborted babies in research for coronavirus vaccines.
With most U.S. senators and representatives observing shelter-in-place guidelines in their home states, the task of writing, reviewing and signing congressional letters is even more complicated. CWA’s legislative team supported member offices initiating these letters, adding to the success of gaining over 150 signatures on each.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) led a bicameral letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn, signed by 38 Senators and 121 Representatives, raising urgent concerns about at-home abortion drugs. During this time of suffering through a world-wide pandemic, abortion activists are using the crisis to push for easier access to medication-induced abortions through mail-order and telemedicine.
In the letter, the lawmakers report on a series of reports indicating that mifeprex, the first drug taken for a medication abortion, can cause five to seven percent of women to require follow-up surgery or emergency room care – a reckless burden on health care resources in our communities.
The lawmakers also urged the FDA to conduct rigorous oversight into ongoing studies dispensing abortion drugs to women remotely which is a violation of the FDA’s required Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). The Gynuity TelAbortion project launched in 2015 is continuously testing medication abortion drugs on women dispensed directly by mail. The project now prescribes medication abortion in 13 states: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington.
CWALAC has long urged the Food and Drug Administration to strictly adhere to the REMS to enforce the use of dangerous abortion drugs that pose serious health and safety risks to women and their babies. In 2002, we filed a 92-page Citizen Petition with the FDA in partnership with the Christian Medical Association and the Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists seeking the withdrawal of the FDA’s unlawful, expedited approval of mifepristone (RU-486), the second drug taken in a medication abortion, in the closing weeks of the Clinton Administration.
Concerning fetal tissue research, separate but similar letters to President Trump were delivered this week urging him to maintain pro-life protections in the search for treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) led the letter signed by 35 Senators as a staunch rebuttal to the request of 15 pro-abortion state attorneys general who are seeking waivers to the ban on fetal tissue research for COVID-19.
“These attempts to exploit the current crisis faced by our nation undermine your leadership and the promising research that is already underway,” the Senators wrote, “Holding the line ethically gives us the ability to put resources toward better science that is already showing promise against the coronavirus. Therefore, we urge you to stand strong in rejecting these appeals for taxpayer dollars to be used for the practice of using aborted babies in experiments.”
In the House, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) led the letter to President Trump with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), Pro-Life Caucus Chairman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) and over 120 Members of Congress urging him to stand firm in the quest for ethical and effective treatments for the coronavirus.
Citing many promising developments in ethical research, the members conclude:
“Thank you, Mr. President, for your decision to halt the grisly practice of using aborted babies for experiments. We urge you to maintain your current fetal tissue research policy and to redirect funds toward ethical, successful alternatives to combat COVID-19.”
We remain grateful for members of Congress, the Trump Administration and pro-life governors who are not letting up on their commitment to protecting life in this pandemic.