On July 10, by a close vote of 187-182, the House quickly voted down Rep. Tom Coburn's (R-Okla.) amendment to the Agricultural appropriations bill that would have prohibited the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from testing, developing or approving drugs that induce abortion. This is a timely victory for the pro-choice movement, as final FDA approval of mifepristone is expected by late September 2000. Mifepristone, which is now available to women throughout the majority of the European Union as well as China, Israel, Switzerland and other parts of the world, is a safe and effective method of early abortion. It is non-invasive and creates no risk of infection. "Defeating the Coburn Amendment is a significant victory for women's health care," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "Congressional interference with the FDA approval process for mifepristone would have had tragic consequences. If the Coburn Amendment had passed, US women would have faced yet more obstacles in gaining access to this safe and effective method of early abortion, and trials on mifepristone's other potential non-abortion uses such as treatment for ovarian cancer, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, meningioma (brain tumor), and Cushing's Syndrome would not have been able to move forward," added Smeal.
Media Resources: Washington Post, AP, Feminist Majority Foundation