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May 29, 2024 | Press Releases

President Biden’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deregulated mifepristone, allowing pregnant women to receive this chemical abortion drug by mail delivery, without an in-person doctor visit. Since then, the number of abortions using mifepristone has grown dramatically. The increased use and disposal of mifepristone may increase levels of harmful chemicals in our water system. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), U.S. Representative Josh Brecheen (R-OK), and colleagues sent a letter to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Michael Regan inquiring if the agency has conducted research on the environmental effects of mifepristone.

  • “Environmental protection efforts are necessary to counter the potential harm that chemical abortion drugs are creating for our people, wildlife, and ecosystems. The American people deserve to know the negative effects caused by chemical abortion drugs.” 

Rubio and Brecheen were joined by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and U.S. Representatives Matt Rosendale (R-MD), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Barry Moore (R-AL), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Jim Banks (R-IN).

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Administrator Regan:

We write with regard to the chemical abortion drug mifepristone and its potential negative environmental impact, including its effect on water systems in the United States. Given the steadily increasing rate of at-home chemical abortions, it is vital that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensure mifepristone, the drug’s active metabolites in blood and placenta tissue, and the fetal remains of unborn children — all of which are unbelievably being flushed into America’s wastewater system — do not pose a threat to the health and safety of humans and wildlife. 

Mifepristone is an orally ingested pill and the first of two drugs taken to induce a chemical abortion. The drug blocks progesterone, a hormone necessary to support pregnancy, tragically killing the unborn child. A second drug is taken 24 to 48 hours later to induce contractions and expel the dead unborn child. Because chemical abortions are primarily self-induced and performed at home, the blood and placental tissue containing mifepristone’s active metabolites are flushed into wastewater systems along with the fetal remains of the unborn child. 

This situation is especially concerning given the dramatic rise in mifepristone’s use since its original approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. Since then, the number of chemical abortions has steadily increased each year. In 2023, chemical abortions accounted for more than 63 percent of all abortions in the United States, up from only 24 percent in 2011. 

The full impact of mifepristone has never been sufficiently studied. When the FDA approved the drug in 2000, it relied on a 1996 environmental assessment that failed to consider that human fetal remains and the drug’s active metabolites would be making their way into wastewater systems across the U.S. Any studies that have been conducted in the past should be repeated and updated to reflect the fact that the drug is far more prevalent today than it was three decades ago. In addition, the EPA should study the impact of the “byproducts” of mifepristone, such as the placental tissue, fetal remains, and active metabolites that are being flushed into our nation’s wastewater system. 

Environmental protection efforts are necessary to counter the potential harm that chemical abortion drugs are creating for our people, wildlife, and ecosystems. The American people deserve to know the negative effects caused by chemical abortion drugs. In addition to our request that the EPA provide a full assessment regarding mifepristone contamination in our wastewater and drinking water systems, we ask for your response to the following questions no later than July 15, 2024. Please provide a separate response to each question, rather than a narrative response. 

  • Given the dramatic increase in mifepristone use, how does the EPA plan to ensure the safety of our waterways and drinking water?
  • To what extent has the EPA studied the impact of mifepristone on water systems across the U.S.?
  • If the EPA has conducted such studies, when did they take place, and have they been updated in light of the increased prevalence of chemical abortions?
  • What are the negative health effects for humans associated with exposure to mifepristone and fetal remains in drinking water?
  • How are aquatic species affected by exposure to mifepristone and fetal remains in our waterways?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your prompt response.