New Hampshire lawmakers blamed politics for standing in the way of exploring new uses for the French abortion pill RU486, and then volunteered their state as a testing ground for the drug.
New Hampshire on Thursday became the first state to advocate trying RU486 when the state Senate voted 13-9 to adopt a resolution calling for the tests. The House passed the measure in March.An anti-abortion advocate denounced the passage of the non-binding resolution as a publicity stunt.
The resolution, sent to Congress, federal regulators and manufacturer Roussel Uclaf, said RU486 has shown it might be effective treating cancer and other diseases and should be tested in the United States, despite objections from those who oppose abortion.
The pill induces miscarriage during early pregnancy.
"A certain political agenda is holding up medical research into the possible uses of RU486," said Republican Sen. Richard Russman. "The New Hampshire Legislature urges that politics get out of the path of medical progress."
Ellen Kolb of New Hampshire Right to Life said the lawmakers were fooled.
"It's a smokescreen. The claims made in the resolution were false, and in order to vote in favor of this resolution, the Senate had to look past facts," she said. "This is a publicity stunt from the word go."
"This was a vote in favor of the reproductive health of women," said Robert Spurrier of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Because the resolution is non-binding, Republican Gov. Judd Gregg's signature wasn't required, and he declined comment on it Thursday.
A call to the federal Food and Drug Administration seeking comment Thursday was not returned. But spokeswoman Susan Cruzan said recently that politics do not influence agency decisions. The FDA has questioned the pill's safety.
"FDA only looks at the scientific data," Cruzan said.