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Idaho State News

Idaho congressmen sign letter demanding FDA reverse abortion drug decision

Kelcie Moseley-Morris | Idaho Capital Sun

All four members of Idaho’s congressional delegation signed a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration demanding that the agency reverse its decision in early January to allow retail and mail-order pharmacies to dispense the abortion drug mifepristone, saying the action violated federal law by disregarding doubts about the safety of the drug.

Nearly 80 Republican members from the U.S. House of Representatives, including Idaho Reps. Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson, and the U.S. Senate, including Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, signed the 12-page letter, including 67 men and 10 women.

Idaho’s Attorney General Raúl Labrador signed on to a similar letter earlier this month from 21 other state attorneys general also urging the FDA to reverse its decision, KTVB reported.

The FDA approved the drug for use through 10 weeks of pregnancy in 2000 and deemed it safe to use when taken as directed. The drug blocks the progesterone hormone that is needed to continue a pregnancy. There are several situations in which the FDA does not recommend the drug’s use, including those who have an ectopic pregnancy or bleeding disorders or who take blood-thinning drugs.

The congressional members disagreed with the FDA’s assessment, citing various studies from the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and other research, but several citations to medical journals did not appear to accurately represent the researchers’ findings.

“The FDA’s conclusion cites cherry-picked studies from the abortion industry and a handful of pro-abortion academics, and improperly disregards evidence of the harms and risks. Critically, the main studies cited by the FDA suffer from deficiencies and fail to replicate the new labeled conditions,” the letter said. “The FDA’s action promotes dangerous do-it-yourself abortions by mail and telemedicine without ever seeing a doctor in person and turns brick-and-mortar pharmacies and post offices into abortion centers.”

The lawmakers also said the FDA violated “longstanding federal criminal laws barring the mailing and shipping of abortion drugs” and did not allow pharmacists to decline to fill the medications if it violates their personal beliefs.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement in early January supporting the FDA’s decision, saying there is no clinical evidence that in-person dispensing improves the safety of the medication or patient outcomes and the requirement only served to restrict patient access to “a safe and effective medication.”