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191 House Republicans vote to restrict abortion access nationwide

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the abortion drug mifepristone should be available in the United States.

By Emily Singer - September 29, 2023
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Hands with mifepristone
A patient prepares to take the first of two combination pills, mifepristone, for a medication abortion during a visit to a clinic in Kansas City, Kan., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Nearly the entire House Republican conference voted Thursday evening to ban mail-order abortion drugs nationwide, a move that would make abortions harder to access for millions of people — including in states where they remain legal.

Republicans slipped the ban into the annual Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies funding bill. The amendment GOP lawmakers added would have reversed a rule the Food and Drug Administration issued in 2021 that permanently allowed those seeking abortions to receive the drug mifepristone by mail rather than having to visit certified providers in person. Mifepristone is used in a two-drug regimen in self-managed abortions.

The funding bill, with its abortion rider, ultimately failed by a vote of 191-237, with 27 Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the legislation.

However, the 191 Republicans who voted for the funding bill make up more than 85% of the House Republican conference.

In the critical battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all but three GOP lawmakers voted to ban mail-order mifepristone. Michigan Republican Rep. John Moolenaar, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, and Wisconsin Republican Rep. Derrick Van Orden voted against the bill.

During debate over the funding bill, Republicans advocated for banning mifepristone altogether, even though the drug was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago as a safe and effective way to end pregnancies early on in gestation.

“Instead of making it easier for women to get access to an abortion pill, the FDA should be banning it,” Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) said Tuesday during debate over the bill.

Democrats slammed Republican lawmakers for trying to further limit access to abortion across the country. Republican-controlled state legislatures have been passing abortion bans since the Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in June 2022, paving the way for states to ban the procedure before fetal viability.

“Republicans are determined to make abortion illegal nationally,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, said during the House floor debate. “Mifepristone has been safely and legally used in the United States by over 5 million women since the FDA approved its use more than 20 years ago. This policy would overrule the established scientific process for FDA approval in order to restrict women’s access to health care.”

Polling shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the abortion drug mifepristone should be available in the United States. GOP efforts to ban its use provide Democrats with more fodder to use in attacking their Republican opponents in future elections.

“Republicans are trying to use government funding bills to advance their extreme anti-choice agenda,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted on Thursday. “It’s all part of their ongoing effort to ban abortion nationwide.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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