Restricting RU-486

Although the “abortion” drug RU-486 earned the Food and Drug Administration’s safety approval in 1996 and has been proven safe by a decade of use in other countries, the FDA has announced that it will restrict the drug’s availability if it ultimately approves its use. Many of the restrictions, however, are politically inspired, and as such, are beyond the purview of the FDA, which should issue decisions based merely on science and not on political influences.
The FDA has until Sept. 30 to decide the drug’s fate or continue delaying any decision. While some of the restrictions are reasonable, most are obviously an attempt to limit the drug’s availability and avoid offending abortion opponents. If the restrictions are implemented, the drug would essentially be only as available as a conventional abortion, although it has the potential to be used significantly more conveniently.
Of course, attitudes toward abortion are more politically volatile in the United States than in many other nations, and RU-486’s availability may indeed need to be restricted because of this. Such restrictions, however, should only come from Congress, and not from an independent, impartial governmental administration, separate from electoral politics.