FDA Relaxes RU-486 Guidelines

On March 30, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the existing protocol for the abortion drug RU-486, which had been in place since the Clinton administration.  The modification came at the request of the drug’s manufacturer and allows for more extensive use of the drug, while at the same time reducing medical oversight.

RU-486 may be used in combination with the prostaglandin misoprostol. These drugs disrupt the uterine lining and cause the unborn child's expulsion from the mother's womb.

The new FDA regulations permit usage up to 70 days into pregnancy, considerably longer than the 49 days under the previous guidelines. The requirement for an additional physician visit prior to taking misoprotol, the second drug of the regime, is now eliminated.  Also, non-physician health care providers with the authority to prescribe medication, such as nurse practitioners, are able to dispense RU-486.

Reacting to the new guidelines, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said:

The FDA has irresponsibly loosened its guidelines for the dangerous abortion drug RU-486 expanding its use an additional three weeks into pregnancy, and allowing provision by non-physicians. The unofficial, off-label use of RU-486 is now the new normal, paving the way for the destruction of even more innocent lives, and putting women and girls at risk for all the life-changing effects of abortion.

Far from wanting abortion to be 'rare', abortion advocates are celebrating this expanded use as opening an ever-widening door to abortion. They are equally celebrating the FDA's neglect of women's health. Women have died from this drug, and many who used it after 8 weeks of pregnancy ended up returning for surgical abortions. This anguish, too, will now be visited on more women.

For the full text of Cardinal Dolan’s remarks see: http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-039.cfm.