ACLU Urges Congress to Protect Access to Safe, Effective Abortion Pill, Says Lawmakers Must Put Science Before Politics

May 17, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today urged Congress to put science before politics as the House Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources held hearings on the government’s approval of the early-option abortion pill, also known as RU-486.

“The FDA approved the early-option abortion pill only after thoroughly reviewing the medical evidence,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Congress should not substitute its political views for the science-based decisions of the FDA’s medical experts.”

Congressional hearings were held today on the FDA’s approval and monitoring of the drug. Legislation has also been introduced in Congress, called the “RU-486 Suspension and Review Act,” which would withdraw the government’s approval of the abortion pill and remove it from the market for at least 180 days while the Government Accountability Office reviews the drug’s approval process. In September 2000, after more than a decade of careful study, the FDA approved the early-option abortion pill. More than 575,000 American women have safely and effectively used the drug since then.

Eighty-seven percent of all U.S. counties have no abortion provider. The abortion pill is an important health care option that should remain available, the ACLU said.

“The early-option pill allows women who live prohibitively far from a surgical abortion provider to safely and privately end an unintended pregnancy,” Fredrickson added. “Congress should not infringe on a woman’s right to make private medical decisions without government interference.”

For more information on the ACLU’s opposition to the “RU-486 Suspension and Review Act,” go to: www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/contraception/25545leg20060418.html

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