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Abortion-inducing drugs could face restrictions

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm •  Published: February 5, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi could restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs and make women visit a physician an additional time after using them.

Senate Bill 2795 also would restrict a woman from taking the pills to seven weeks after their last menstruation. Many doctors now prescribe the medicine up to nine weeks into a pregnancy.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee approved the measure Tuesday, sponsored by Sen. Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune. It goes to the full Senate for more debate.

A companion measure died Tuesday in a House committee without a vote, along with almost three-quarters of all general bills. Tuesday was the deadline for committee action in the side where a bill was introduced.

According to bill-tracking service Statewatch, 2,269 general bills in the House and Senate were winnowed down to 592 survivors. There are later deadlines for bills that deal with taxes and spending.

Hill's measure says physicians can only prescribe the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, according to directions from the Food and Drug Administration. They couldn't give "off-label" instructions that differ from those approved by the FDA.

Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, who presented the bill to the committee, said the law is needed because too many people are having problems after taking the drugs. He described the bill as "pro-life" and said it would be unconstitutional to outlaw the medicines.

Abortion supporters say research that followed the FDA instructions shows that the dose on the label is too high, creating extra costs and health risks for women.

"The FDA protocol for medical abortion is an outdated procedure and it's not commonly used," said Felicia Brown-Williams, who lobbies for Planned Parenthood in Mississippi.

The measure would also require a woman to return to a doctor's office to take a dose of misoprostol, instead of taking it at home, as is often now the practice. That would mean a total of four visits — one before prescription, one for the first course of mifepristone, one for the misoprostol, and then a follow-up visit 14 days later.

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