June 17, 2010

Pro-life Chair Voices ‘Grave Concern’ Over FDA Plan to Approve Abortion Drug for ‘Emergency Contraception’

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities voiced “grave concern” to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over its move toward approving a new drug that may induce early abortions as an “emergency contraceptive.” In a June 17 letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston criticized the FDA’s move to hold an advisory committee meeting on the drug Ulipristal “without broad public input or a full record on the drug’s safety for women or their unborn children.”

The Cardinal raised concerns that Ulipristal is more similar in effect to the drug RU-486, which can cause abortions several weeks into pregnancy, than it is to other emergency contraceptives, which are believed to have no post-implantation effects.

“Millions of American women, even those willing to use a contraceptive to prevent fertilization in various circumstances, would personally never choose to have an abortion,” said Cardinal DiNardo. “They would be ill served by a misleading campaign to present Ulipristal simply as a ‘contraceptive.’ In fact, FDA approval for that purpose would likely make the drug available for ‘off-label’ use simply as an abortion drug – including its use by unscrupulous men with the intent of causing an early abortion without a woman's knowledge or consent. Such abuses have already occurred in the case of RU-486, despite its warning labels and limited distribution.”

Cardinal DiNardo went on to cite the support of this and previous Administrations for federal laws ensuring no one is involved in an abortion without his or her knowledge or consent, as well as the Obama Administration’s rationale for supporting broad access to contraceptives as a means of reducing abortions.
“Plans for approving a known abortion-causing drug as a ‘contraceptive’ for American women is not consistent with the stated policy of the Administration on these matters,” the Cardinal wrote.

Read the full text of the letter.

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