In today’s Democratic Party, anything goes—from applauding parents who encourage their children to reject their God-given identity and mutilate their young bodies, to bizarrely championing “abortion rights for trans-females,” to now happily supporting the dangerous do-it-yourself abortion method known as the abortion pill.

When the New York Times surveyed the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, all of them (unsurprisingly) vowed to defend abortion. However, when asked if they were in favor of lifting the restrictions on abortion pills and making them available over-the-counter (OTC), many of the candidates were unwilling to take a public position. Nevertheless, a few candidates are willing partners in the abortion industry’s strategy to deregulate the abortion pill.

The candidates who answered “Yes” to OTC abortion pills were: Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang. Those who answered “unclear” or “unsure” who are still in the race were: Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, and Amy Klobuchar. The two candidates who provided no answer were Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. (The New York Times survey was taken before Michael R. Bloomberg and Deval Patrick entered the race.)

Another left-leaning outlet, Vice, conducted its own survey, focusing solely on support for OTC abortion pills. They asked every Democrat who qualified for the December 19th debate about “expanding access to medication abortion.” Out of the seven candidates who qualified, four responded. Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Tom Steyer all said they support making abortion pills available OTC, while Andrew Yang only went so far as to say he supports “expanding access” to telemedicine. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Amy Klobuchar did not respond to Vice’s survey.

Chemical abortions, which are carried out by abortion pills, are fast becoming the new abortion battleground. The rate of chemical abortions is at an all-time high; currently, almost 40 percent of abortions are done with abortion pills. This rapid increase is part of the abortion industry’s long-term strategy to make abortions “self-managed” and unrestricted—despite the profound dangers chemical abortions pose to women’s health.

The abortion industry regards drug-based, do-it-yourself abortions as the best way to get around the many state-level pro-life laws being enacted around our country. Consequently, they want to remove the FDA’s drug safety program, known as the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), so that abortion pills are available through the pharmacy and the mail, making do-it-yourself abortions the future of the industry. The abortion industry is not shy about this goal. They have strategically discussed how the absence of the REMS would significantly expand abortion locations and providers, broaden remote prescriptions (in which a woman is never even examined by the prescriber), and eventually achieve OTC status for the abortion pill.

The risks that come with taking the abortion pill are eerily similar to those of a self-induced abortion. Placing the burden on women to “self-manage” their abortions is not very different from the “back-alley coat-hanger abortions” that abortion activists have once said they wanted to avoid with legal abortion.

The abortion industry likes to make the abortion pill regimen of mifepristone (marketed under the brand name Mifeprex) and misoprostol sound safe and straightforward. In reality, chemical abortions are a multi-day, traumatic process that has four times the rate of complications and over 4,000 documented life-threatening and health-endangering risks.

Between 2000 and 2018, a total of 4,195 adverse events related to chemical abortions were reported to the FDA. These events include 24 maternal deaths, 97 undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections). It is important to note that these numbers only represent the adverse events reported to the FDA, so we do not have a full picture of the data.

The REMS provide a way to monitor and mitigate the risks of the abortion pill regimen. They are the lone safety barrier in preventing the sale and provision of mifepristone tablets outside a clinical setting. How would removing the REMS and making abortion pills an OTC product make abortion safer for women, when 24 women have died and thousands of women have been traumatized, even with the REMS currently in place?

The responses by the 2020 Democratic candidates are telling. Gone are the days when Democrats declared abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Now, the party trips over itself to lay out a welcome mat for unsafe, unregulated, do-it-yourself abortion.

Once something is legal, it will not become rare. When asked if they still hold to the trio mantra, Democrats slyly agree that abortion should be “safe and legal” but stop short of “rare.” It’s easy to figure out why. Abortions that are rare don’t make money. If they don’t make money, that money doesn’t go to campaigns whose candidates want to stay in power. Rare abortions don’t eliminate the kinds of people the elite Left doesn’t want over-populating; hence, when defending “abortion access,” proponents will consistently dog-whistle about how any pro-life protections will hurt “low-income” women, “rural” women, and “women of color.”

Now, with their support of do-it-yourself abortions, abortion advocates have shown their hand. They never truly cared about women at all. With all the documented dangers, it is increasingly evident that the abortion industry’s priority is not “abortion safety” but “abortion access”—which means profit. The abortion industry knows that they can expand their access by distributing abortion pills OTC or via telemedicine, as opposed to having to deal with the overhead costs of facilities and surgeons. But those pesky REMS stand in their way. Women’s safety is in their way.

Abortionist Daniel Grossman, who has significant ties to the abortion pill, actively encourages policy makers and the FDA to lift the REMS and restrictions on telemed abortion all in the name of “abortion access.” The aggressive push for OTC Mifeprex at the expense of women’s health and safety says loud and clear that abortion is a business—not care for women. 

Allowing abortion pills as OTC drugs has radical implications for women especially as it pertains to intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and accurate patient assessment. There are numerous documented incidents of women being unknowingly slipped abortion pills by partners who were unwilling to become fathers or by family members who were unsupportive of the pregnancy. Just this week, a California man faces a first-degree murder charge after allegedly holding his girlfriend at gunpoint and forcing her to take pills, effectively aborting her own child.

Clearing a pathway for OTC abortion pills is going in the opposite direction of safe, legal, and rare. Any candidate that ignores the documented dangers of chemical abortions is sold out to an abortion ideology where anything goes. But we shouldn’t be surprised: this same party refuses to pass legislation that would protect babies born alive after botched abortions and applauds legislation that allows the termination of a child up to the day of birth!

At least we know where the candidates stand on this issue. Evidently, we have a lot of work to do to make sure human dignity and women’s safety becomes the new standard in this country.