GOP Senators Turn on Biden FDA Nominee over Abortion Pill Rule Change

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Pro-life groups are working to oppose confirmation of Robert Califf as director of the Food and Drug Administration, over concerns about the agency’s decision to remove restrictions on abortion-inducing pills.

Senators Tommy Tuberville (R., Ala.) and John Marshall (R., Ka.) both shifted from initially backing Califf’s confirmation to opposing him following outreach from pro-life groups, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The FDA in December permanently lifted requirements for women to obtain abortion-inducing pills in-person. Prior to that decision, Califf told the Senate Health Committee during his confirmation hearings that he trusted the FDA to decide the issue based on available data.

“Just a few days after Dr. Califf’s confirmation hearing, the FDA announced it would permanently allow abortion drugs to be available by mail order,” Tuberville told Politico in a statement. “I believe Dr. Califf will continue to advance this administration’s pro-abortion agenda, and I cannot support his nomination.”

Califf previously led the FDA during the Obama administration, and the Senate voted 89-4 at the time to confirm him.

A letter to senators organized by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List noted that in 2016, during Califf’s tenure, the FDA changed the type of data it collects on adverse reactions to abortion pills from severe and fatal reactions to just fatal reactions.

“Under Califf’s leadership during the Obama Administration, the FDA significantly undermined the reporting and safety requirements on medication abortion, also known as chemical abortion,” the letter states. “The FDA needs a leader who will follow the science and prioritize the health and wellbeing of women and girls. Based on his past (successful) effort to weaken data and safety requirements for chemical abortion, we must oppose his nomination.”

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