Vir Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), A former Planned Parenthood executive and strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights, is furious enough that the Supreme Court appears ready to Roe v. Wade to overthrow.
So last week, during a committee hearing on a bill on Food and Drug Administration user fees, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Can.) Casually tried to amend the bill to require women to see a doctor and get an ultrasound before being admitted. to use the abortion pill, Smith was furious.
“Completely unnecessary,” she told him in Tuesday’s hearing.
“This amendment will force women seeking a medication abortion to be diagnosed personally and only after this unnecessary procedure,” she said. “To be clear, this kind of [transvaginal] “Ultrasounds do not have a medical purpose within 10 weeks of pregnancy, which is the time frame for when women can have access to a medication abortion.”
Smith tweeted about it after the trial also said there was a ‘zero’ reason for Marshall’s proposal and accused him of “punishing women for seeking a general medical procedure.”
That could have been the end of it. After all, Smith was right: Medication abortion, also called the abortion pill, was approved by the FDA in 2000 and is safe, effective and widely prescribed for miscarriage and abortion care within the first 10 weeks. It is also the most common method of abortion in the country, accounting for approx. 60% of all abortions.
From December, women do not even have to go to a doctor’s office to get the two-pill regimen. The FDA has waived that rule to allow doctors to prescribe it through telecommunications health consultations and to mail it to patients in states where it is permitted by law. It was just before a study in March found that medication abortion can be discontinued without an ultrasound or a physical examination, a study with far-reaching implications given that youSound machines cost thousands of dollars and require specialized training.
But Marshall, who likes to claim to be the Senate’s only OB-GYN, tweeted back to Smith – this time make a strange statement about the dangers of the abortion pill.
“Women will die if they skip this step,” Marshall said, referring to an ultrasound, “and babies will be born with birth defects as the drug is less effective at a later gestational age.”
Dying women! Babies with birth defects! This is outrageous!
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the leading professional organization for OB-GYNs, responded almost immediately to HuffPost’s request for comment when asked about Marshall’s claims.
“ACOG does not support this statement,” said Kate Connors, a spokeswoman for the organization. “Medication abortion is safe and effective, and evidence shows that it can be provided safely and effectively through telesealth, let alone without an ultrasound.”
Connors also referred HuffPost to ACOG’s official guidelines on medication abortion, which, for anyone interested in a medical explanation of what’s going on, she said “discuss what he is extrapolating incorrectly: misoprostol may be teratogenic in the first trimester. The however, data show that dating with a pregnancy by last menstruation is sufficient to identify a patient indicated for medication abortion, so ultrasound dating is NOT necessary.
Smith, meanwhile, slammed her Republican colleague for “driving disinformation” about the safety of medication abortion, which is safer than Tylenol.
“Sen. Marshall is an OB-GYN. He knows what the standard is, “she told HuffPost in a recent interview, accusing him of” hiding behind his doctorate “in trying to deter women from getting a safe abortion.
The Minnesota Democrat said it was important to note the context of Marshall’s claims.
“He does this because we are probably days away from the Supreme Court overthrowing Roe v. Wade, and many will turn to medication abortion as a way to gain access to abortion,” Smith said. “He also tries to make it difficult… while we think about the future of abortion care where Roe v. Wade is overthrown. “
Asked for comment in response to ACOG and Smith saying his allegations of abortion medication are wildly untrue, a Marshall spokesman gave a lengthy statement about the senator being a proud OB-GYN.
“I will always be an OBGYN first,” Marshall said in his email. “When I see political agendas that will harm patients, it is my duty to speak up.”
The Kansas senator went on to claim that women who take an abortion pill without first getting an ultrasound “will lead to missed ectopic pregnancies and woman [sic] die.” He also claimed that women, without first getting ultrasounds, would get the pills outside the approved 70-day window, which he said could “cause significant birth defects, as well as lead to delays in antenatal care and higher levels of undiagnosed diabetes, blood clots can be bored. , and preeclampsia. ”
“As an OBGYN for 30 years, I have brought more than 5,000 babies into the world, but I have also treated patients with bleeding in the ER that resulted from failed terminations,” Marshall said, before resuming his medical credentials presented. “As one of only four physicians in the U.S. Senate and the only OBGYN, it is in the best interests of the safety and well-being of women and unborn children to require medical imaging before prescribing chemical abortion pills.”
Once again, ACOG vehemently rejected Marshall’s claims.
The fact that Marshall uses the term “chemical abortion” in any way is extremely inappropriate, Connors said, as ACOG explicitly referred to it as “biased, non-clinical language”.
“If anything will cost the lives of pregnant people, it will be the gross and deliberate misinterpretation of scientific data to restrict access to abortion based on politics and ideology.”
– Dr. Jen Villavicencio of the American College of Obstetricians and Ginecologists
Furthermore, dr. Jen Villavicencio, ACOG’s leader of equity transformation and an OB-GYN with a specialty in complex family planning, said Marshall’s claims are completely dangerous for women.
“If anything is going to cost the lives of pregnant people, it would be the gross and deliberate misinterpretation of scientific data to restrict access to abortion based on politics and ideology,” Villavicencio said in a statement to HuffPost.
“As a physician currently delivering infants, operating on people with life-threatening ectopics and providing abortion care, I can say that both policies and the practice of medicine should reflect good science and clear evidence,” she said. “Abortion restrictions are clearly not supported by data. Medication abortion is a very safe, effective medical intervention and for many people, ultrasounds that are needed only serve as a barrier to care. ”
The Supreme Court will close its term during the last week of June or the first week of July. Roe v. Wade is widely expected to be overthrown by that time.