On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz co-authored a letter to the FDA requesting the removal of the abortion pill, otherwise known as RU-46 or Mifeprex, from the U.S. market. Cruz asked Commissioner Stephen Hahn to classify Mifeprex as an “imminent hazard to public health” and “a significant threat of danger,” claiming that “pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.” Cruz’s statements, backed up by his pro-life posse, dismiss the health hazards that women frequently face while pregnant and the safety that Mifeprex provides.
Ted Cruz has never been pregnant and clearly knows nothing about maternal mortality rates in the US or in Texas. People die in childbirth at an unconscionable rate, especially women of color. Not from medication abortion. Sadly, knowledge is not a prerequisite for power. https://t.co/EjER9RGfXC— ilyseh (@ilyseh) September 3, 2020
According to the World Health Organization, “every day in 2017 approximately 810 women died from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.” Women of color experience disproportionate degrees of complications during pregnancies compared to white women. In the U.S. alone, the Center for Disease Control found that “the maternal mortality rate in 2018 was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, rising to 37.1 live births for black women.” In an interview with Vox, Joya Crear-Perry, an OB-GYN and the president of National Birth Equity Collaborative said,
“Black women, even when we get prenatal care, even when we are normal weight and not obese, even when we have no underlying medical conditions, we are still more likely to die in childbirth than our white counterparts.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, these risks are only exacerbated.
Cruz’s letter also stated that the Clinton administration rushed Mifeprex through FDA approved protocol, calling the pill “unregulated and demedicalized.” But since its establishment in 2000, Mifeprex has remained a safe and reliable treatment. And in 2016, the FDA adopted even further measures to ensure its safety such as changes in dosage, gestational age, packaging labels, and processes for administered follow-up visits. The FDA has also updated Mifeprex’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to “reflect the changes approved in the supplemental application.”
Mifeprex, a safe and effective way for people with uteruses to maintain autonomy over their bodies, should not be contested — especially by a man who evidently sees pregnancy as a walk in the park.
Top photo by Gage Skidmore
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Olivia Simonds is a graduate of Clark University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in English literature and creative writing. Much of her work is inspired by long subway rides, her friendships, and the perpetual pulse of New York City, where she grew up and still lives today.
You can follow her on Instagram @oliviasimonds or on Twitter @livsimondss