Here’s Why Buttigieg Wants To Eliminate The FDA’s Warnings On Abortion Drugs

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg suggested eliminating Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings on the abortion drugs misoprostol and mifepristone in a NYT survey.
  • The 2020 Democrat wants to make the abortion drugs available over the counter.
  • The FDA currently requires that abortion drugs be administered under “the supervision of a certified healthcare provider.”

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg suggested eliminating Food and Drug Administration warnings on abortion drugs to make them more accessible.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor clarified his opinions on over-the-counter abortion drugs in a survey The New York Times conducted. Buttigieg said he would make the abortion drugs misoprostol and mifepristone available over the counter.

Misoprostol and mifepristone are two medicines used in an “abortion pill” to “end a pregnancy,” according to Planned Parenthood’s page on “The Abortion Pill.” (RELATED: Here Are Democratic Candidates Who Want To Ban Abstinence-Only Sex Ed As President)

“Mifepristone blocks your body’s own progesterone, stopping the pregnancy from growing,” Planned Parenthood says. “Then you take the second medicine, misoprostol, either right away or up to 48 hours later. This medicine causes cramping and bleeding to empty your uterus. It’s kind of like having a really heavy, crampy period, and the process is very similar to an early miscarriage.”

Buttigieg says this method is “safe and effective.”

“Medication abortion is known to be safe and effective and could expand abortion access, especially for those who live in remote areas, or in states where routine, private and nonjudgmental abortion care is limited,” Buttigieg said in the survey published Monday, adding that there are a few “major barriers” that must be overcome before the drugs can be sold over the counter, such as legalizing self-administered abortion in some states.

The South Bend mayor suggested ignoring the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) applied to one of the abortion drugs, mifepristone. REMS is an FDA drug safety program that the FDA requires “for certain medications with serious safety concerns.”

“Steps we can take in the interim to improve access to abortion include expanding access to abortion via telehealth, eliminating the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) warning that ignores decades of evidence indicating that these medications are safe, and expanding the types of medical professionals able to prescribe them,” Buttigieg told the Times. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Republican Lawmakers Warn FDA Against Calls To Remove Restrictions On Abortion Drugs)

South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, responds to a question at the We Decide: Planned Parenthood Action Fund 2020 Election Forum to Focus on Abortion and Reproductive Rights event in Columbia, SC on June, 22 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg responds to a question at the We Decide: Planned Parenthood Action Fund 2020 Election Forum to Focus on Abortion and Reproductive Rights event in Columbia, South Carolina, on June, 22 2019.(Photo: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

Under current FDA approved REMS, a health care provider must supervise the order, prescription, and dispensation of mifepristone. Only health care providers who meet “certain qualifications” may do so. The abortion drug also may “only be dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider,” according to the FDA. (RELATED: No Major Democratic Candidate Surveyed Would Consider An Anti-Abortion Running Mate)

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion advocates have called for the removal of REMS from mifepristone, but the FDA warns that buyers “should not buy Mifeprex over the Internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health (and the health of others).”

Republican lawmakers, including Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, called on the FDA in September to “mandate collecting complete, accurate information on all adverse events related to” mifepristone after Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion officials said that restrictions on abortion drugs should be removed. The lawmakers spoke out in a letter exclusively provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Banks reminded the DCNF of the recent discovery of over 2,200 fetal remains in the garage of the late South Bend abortionist Ulrich Klopfer.

“One would hope that the uncovering of such heinous crimes in Mayor Pete’s former city would cause him to reconsider his far-left stance on abortion,” Banks told the DCNF. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t.”

The GOP representative added that it is disappointing that Buttigieg “is willing to tell mistruths to further an immoral cause.”

“Pete Buttigieg’s statement that the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) warning on abortion drugs ‘ignores decades of evidence’ is absolutely false,” Banks said. “In fact current REMS do not go far enough. Since, 2000, 24 women have died from the abortion drug mifepristone.”

As of Dec. 31, 2018, there have been 24 deaths of women who were associated with the abortion drug since it was first approved in September 2000, according to the FDA.

The FDA notes that while it has received reports of serious adverse events in cases where women took abortion-inducing drugs, “adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient.”

Planned Parenthood reports that “today, more than 2.75 million U.S. women have used Mifeprex” and that as of 2016, Planned Parenthood has provided about a million people with the abortion drug.

The FDA and Buttigieg did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include language clarifying that the FDA could not with certainty attribute the causality of adverse events to mifepristone.

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