OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, April 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lawmakers in Oklahoma and neighboring Texas are taking steps to make sure that abortion providers stop ignoring Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines established for the abortion drug RU-486.
Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Senate passed a measure that prohibits abortion providers from deviating from FDA guidelines, which bar vaginal intake of the abortion drug and limit the drug’s safety to 7 weeks (or 49 days) into pregnancy, starting from the woman’s last menstrual period.
The Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act also mandates that abortion doctors give a woman a health exam before dispensing RU-486: both to assess how far along she is into pregnancy, and to screen for health problems which could lead to life-threatening complications. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Randy Grau (R-Oklahoma City) and Senator Greg Treat (R-Edmond).
The Senate passed the bill by a strong bipartisan majority of 39-6 on Tuesday. The House had already passed the same measure by an 83-5 majority.
House lawmakers will now vote to approve HB 1970 with the amendments added by the Senate.
Once approved, the measure is expected to be signed into law by pro-life Republican governor Mary Fallin.
Kate Neary-Pounds, director of Tulsa Reproductive Services, told the Tulsa Herald that she believed lawmakers were merely trying to make the lives of abortionists harder.
“Barring women from having a medical abortion after seven weeks’ gestation forces women to undergo a surgery procedure when they otherwise would have the option of a safe procedure using the medications alone,” said Neary-Pounds.
The National Abortion Federation has guidelines encouraging abortionists to prescribe RU-486 within 63 days of the last menstrual period – an extra two weeks beyond the FDA’s safety guidelines.
RU-486 was made legal in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, and since then at least six American women have died of complications from medically induced abortion. Abroad, the Italian Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics in 2008 reported 16 maternal deaths associated with RU-486, leading the Italian Senate to delay sale of the chemical abortion drug.
“For too long, abortion providers have been dispensing abortion-inducing drugs in an unsafe manner that serves only to boost their own profit margins and it must stop,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, which helped work with lawmakers in passing the measure. “We are proud to have assisted in the passage of this bill,” she added.
Lawmakers in Texas are considering similar legislation that would prevent abortion providers from following the NAF or Planned Parenthood protocols over the FDA standards.
Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life leader, was slated to speak before the state Senate on Tuesday about the dangers of RU-486 and her experience with Planned Parenthood’s distribution protocols – and her own RU-486 abortion.
AUL Vice President for Government Affairs Dan McConchie said the pro-life group had partnered with Johnson to advance this legislation, which he said would help to “protect women and save lives in Texas.”
“Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers routinely dispense RU 486 off-label in a manner that expands their profits while undermining women’s health. It is important for the legislature to take action now to rein in these dangerous practices.”