The following was written by Lanah Burkhardt, an intern for Convention of States.

If mifepristone is so safe, what’s the problem?

What’s the uproar and sudden controversy?

A recent ruling to completely suspend a popular abortion drug called mifepristone has the left in a panic. On Wednesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans made the decision “to suspend FDA approval of a widely used abortion drug,according to the Daily Wire. And now the Biden Administration is involved. “[Judge Matthew J.] Kacsmaryk’s decision [to suspend approval] was widely praised by pro-life groups but decried by the Biden administration, who promised to challenge the ruling.”

According to Forbes, “Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, issued a preliminary injunction that will effectively stay the drug’s approval, instead of ordering the FDA to fully withdraw it as the plaintiffs proposed.” With how the current case is going, mifepristone’s partial suspension would mean that women could only take it within seven weeks of pregnancy and it would not be available to be mailed unless the U.S. Supreme Court used an emergency order to stop the lower court ruling from taking effect.

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In 2020, reports were given that 53% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication abortions, many of which involved mifepristone (commonly used with misoprostol, another abortion drug). Currently, medication abortions are the only available legal abortions in states that have enacted abortion bans since the overturning of Roe V. Wade.  Women who want abortions in states like Texas rely on abortion medications like mifepristone and misoprostol, which means the number of abortions after seven weeks would drop substantially in many states. This ruling threatens more than just one particular abortion drug but could entail more to come, which is what the true uproar is about. Women are scared that they won’t be able to kill their own unborn children.

All of that said, why was mifepristone a concern in the first place? Even though the FDA has stated, “Mifeprex [mifepristone] was approved in 2000 with restrictions to assure its safe use” this drug is not truly safe. Here we are again… the government giving citizens information derived for the gain of money and not the good of the people.

According to many origin studies on the true effects of the mifepristone/misoprostol duo, “the Food and Drug Administration based its 1996 finding that drug-induced abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol (“M/M”) was “safe and effective” on results involving a subgroup of women (1,681) in French trials. M/M abortions in France are performed at government-operated hospitals and clinics, typically with or adjacent to emergency room facilities. Women are screened for numerous medical conditions that rule out use of the two drugs. Ultrasound is used to determine gestational age and to rule out tubal pregnancy.”

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“After women are given prostaglandin (e.g., misoprostol), they are monitored on site for approximately four hours so that allergic reactions, cardiopulmonary “events,” hemorrhaging and the like can be treated promptly before they become life-threatening.”

Once the drug is ingested, “following technical conditions … are indispensable and are to be followed: … b) The doctor must ensure that diagnostic instruments and machines are close by, such as electrocardiogram equipment and particularly resuscitative cardiopulmonary equipment (including nitrous oxide and injectable calcium antagonists and a fibrillator). … c) [Clinical observations and blood-pressure readings every half hour are indispensable for several hours following the administration of these drugs. d) Whenever there is chest pain, an electrocardiogram should be taken on the suspicion of rhythm troubles and in case of significant lowering of blood pressure” (April 12, 1990 letter from the French Republic, Department of Solidarity, Health and Social Protection, reprinted in Child & Family 21:102-103, 1990).

That was the only study the FDA used to ensure this drug was safe and effective, yet it does not sound safe whatsoever!

It’s a lot to take in but the study goes further into other countries’ experiences with the drug. Since then, China has completely
banned mifepristone.

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To further note, “Mifepristone’s distributor, Danco Laboratories, claimed the six reports [of women who died within days of taking mifepristone] were an “extremely small incidence” of problems. It [Danco Laboratories] refused to say how many women have used the abortion pill in its 17 months on the market” according to a 2002 article.

Though there is much to say about the trial itself, I look at the causes, whys, and behind-the-scenes. As we have seen, the drug is dangerous yet it’s been widely available for 20 years! The government used one study to claim mifepristone is “safe” (yet the U.S. does not use the procedures suggested in the French study). So is this trial about limiting the number of abortions? Or is this trial about keeping women safe?

Over and over, we watch big corporations and big government propagate misinformation (to the extent of endangering women with a harmful drug) so they have an excuse to make money, which is exactly why we need an Article V Convention.

Lanah Burkhardt is an intern for Convention of States.

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