WASHINGTON, DC (AP/Reuters from ProLifeInfo.org) - Two pro-life lawmakers are pushing for a limit on those
who can prescribe the dangerous RU 486 abortion pill contending that
earlier, rushed government approval of the drug omitted necessary
Pro-abortion activists immediately denounced the legislation as an attempt
to limit access to RU-486 which was approved by the Food and Drug
Administration last September after years of debate.
The bill, offered by pro-life Sen. Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas and pro-life
Rep. David Vitter of Louisiana, requires that a physician prescribing
RU-486 must be qualified to handle complications from incomplete abortions
as well as legally authorized to perform medical abortions that will br
performed after botched abortions when RU 486 failed to work. A
prescribing physician must be qualified to read a sonogram to date the
pregnancy or detect an ectopic pregnancy and also must have admitting
privileges at a nearby hospital. In order to provide the drug, physicians
would also have to be trained in the administration of the abortion drug
"through an FDA-approved curriculum."
The FDA said in its approval that prescribing doctors should be able to
refer patients for surgical abortions or admission to hospitals.
"This bill seeks to ensure that the health of women who take this drug
will not be jeopardized due to improper administration of the drug by an
inadequately-trained health professional," said Hutchinson, (R-AR), who
introduced the bill in the Senate, as he did last year. Hutchinson said
the bill's only intention is ``to ensure the health and safety of women
who are prescribed RU-486.''
``I have no doubt that if women were asked whether their doctor should be
required to be able to read an ultrasound, handle complications and get
them admitted to the hospital in case of an emergency, they would not
hesitate to demand those levels of competence,'' Hutchinson said.
``Last fall the Clinton-Gore FDA caved in to political pressure from the
abortion lobby and hurriedly approved the abortion drug without critical
health protections for those who use it. Our legislation corrects that
mistake,'' Vitter said. He added, ``The least we can do is ensure that
this drug does not endanger the health of the mother.''
Pro-abortion activists argue that the FDA set up a lengthy process for
administering the drug, including that a woman must visit the prescribing
doctor three times before she can receive the drug. They also note the
drug went through almost eight years of clinical trials in the United
States before approval. The FDA considered restrictions similar to those
proposed by the lawmakers but rejected them.
Pro-abortion Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) said the plan will ``significantly
impede access to abortion.''
The agency lacks the power to overturn its decision unless the drug
encounters unexpected, severe side effects. It could impose additional
restrictions on its use, but that would require a lengthy rule-making
procedure and need medical justification.
President George W. Bush called federal approval of RU-486 ``wrong,'' and
he supports a review of FDA approval of the drug.