Ohio Congressman Calls Out FDA for ‘Illegal’ Approval of Mail-Order Abortifacients

U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-OH-5) is leading a charge by federal lawmakers against the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) relaxation of safety requirements for abortion drugs so consumers can access them by mail.

The Bowling Green-area lawmaker coauthored a letter with U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and garnered signatures from 75 other members of Congress to insist that the FDA’s recent actions violate federal law. In particular, the legislators object to the agency’s approval of chemical abortion-inducing substances while no longer requiring in-person dispensing. 

“The FDA’s action promotes dangerous do-it-yourself abortions by mail and telemedicine without ever seeing a doctor in person, and turns brick-and-mortar pharmacies and post offices into abortion centers,” Latta and his colleagues wrote. “Through this abuse of discretion, the FDA has put the profits and political agenda of the abortion industry over the science and clear evidence that abortion drugs present grave dangers to pregnant mothers and their unborn babies.” 

Latta and his colleagues maintain that in-person screening are crucial to guaranteeing that expectant mothers face minimal risks from complications. They also note that an existing federal statute disallows bureaucrats to permit the transporting of abortion drugs through the Postal Service or other shippers. They furthermore object to the FDA’s declining to protect the the freedom of conscience of pharmacists who don’t wish to support abortion.

Despite longstanding federal restrictions on the mailing of contraceptive and abortifacient devices, the Justice Department issued an opinion earlier this month allowing the abortion-inducing chemicals mifepristone and misoprostol to be mailed rather than dispensed in person. Taking its cue from the department, the FDA also decided to let mail-order pharmacies get certified to purvey pregnancy-ending medications. 

Exclusion of obstetricians and other doctors from the administration of abortifacients, the anti-abortion legislators asserted, leaves expecting mothers at greater risk of infection or fatality. 

“Dispensing abortion drugs through mail-order and retail pharmacies removes safeguards to ensure the drugs are taken immediately and by the woman for whom the drug is specifically prescribed,” the letter read. “It consequently makes it easier for these drugs to fall into the hands of human traffickers or abusers, who may administer the drugs to pregnant mothers without their knowledge or consent.”

Organizations including National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, SBA Pro-Life America, Americans United for Life, March for Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, CatholicVote, Heritage Action, Students for Life of America, the Family Research Council and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission have voiced their support for Latta’s effort. 

In its opinion, the Justice Department reasoned that because mifepristone and misoprostol can be used to treat gastric ulcers, manage miscarriages or serve medical purposes other than abortion, allowing people to obtain the drugs through the mail is justified.

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bob Latta” by U.S. House Office of Photography. Background Photo “U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office” by CaptJayRuffins. CC BY-SA 4.0.


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