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House Takes an Interest in the RU-486 Poison Pill


December 22, 2005

Volume 7 / Number 50

House Takes and Interest in the RU-486 Poison Pill

Dear Colleague:

A House subcommittee has chosen to investigate the dangers of the abortion

pill, RU-486, in a Christmas gift to America’s women and all those who

love them.

Steven W. Mosher

President

RU-486 has been killing mothers as well as children, and Congressman Mark

Souder (R.-Ind.) hopes to get to the bottom of what the FDA is doing about

it. A House subcommittee he chairs has begun a major investigation into

the safety of RU-486 (mifepristone), the use of which has so far killed at

least four American women since the FDA approved it in 2000. Mifepristone

(sold under the brand name Mifeprex) induces abortion medically, and is

used as an alternative to surgical abortion in the early stages of

pregnancy.

A December 21 letter to FDA Acting Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach

contains a detailed list of questions regarding the FDA’s own

investigations into RU-486’s safety record (see PRI’s website www.pop.org

for the letter and more information). The letter seeks physician,

autopsy, and other records so that the subcommittee can conduct its own

review, and asks about the off-label regimens often used with mifepristone

(off-label uses are legal but not approved by the FDA). Souder also wants

to know why it took so long for the drug’s maker, Danco Laboratories, to

add the risk of bacterial infection to the drug’s warning label. All four

American women who died from taking RU-486 had dangerous bacterial

infections. Souder chairs the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug

Policy, and Human Resources of the U.S. House’s Committee on Government

Reform.

The investigation comes soon after the New England Journal of Medicine

published an article suggesting that RU-486 abortions may be ten times

more likely to cause the death of the mother than surgical abortions

performed at the same point in pregnancy (see PRI’s Weekly Briefing, Dec.

2, 2005, “Time for a RU-486 Rollback”).

We think it’s past time that RU-486 received more scrutiny since it’s a

drug that not only kills unborn children, but sometimes their mothers as

well. Because of America’s lax medical reporting system, no one knows how

many women may have died after taking RU-486. As we wrote on December 2,

‘The FDA under the Clinton Administration officially rushed the approval

of RU-486 under expedited procedures normally reserved for drugs needed to

save people’s lives. Women have been paying with their health and even

their lives since.'”

This drug was rushed to market by the FDA, and it turns out that a major

study published in one of the world’s most prestigious science journals

presents data showing that the drug is ten times more likely to be deadly

for women than surgical abortion. If feminist groups that supposedly

exist to protect women’s rights cared, they and their legions of media

allies would be screaming up and down about this scandal. After all,

surgical abortion-on-demand is widely available, cheap, and relatively

safe for the aborting mother, so why do feminists cling to the dangerous

RU-486?

Their dedication to RU-486 is further proof that they don’t care about

women, but about abortion–anywhere, any time, for any reason, by any

means possible. Not only can they not accept that artificially ending a

pregnancy accepted by a woman’s body is obviously unnatural and unhealthy

for that woman, they cannot accept the questioning of medical means to

achieve that pregnancy termination. Just as they fanatically defend

puncturing the skulls and vacuuming out the brains of almost-born

nine-month-old children who could simply be delivered immediately instead,

they stand by the killer drug.

The four American women who died from RU-486 suffered from gruesome

infections. “[E]ach of the four women who died from septic shock were

infected by Clostridium sordellii, a potent anaerobic bacteria,” Souder

wrote in his letter. “It is also known that a Canadian woman died from

septic shock linked to C. sordellii after taking RU-486. These women did

not possess other risk factors or underlying medical conditions that would

have predisposed them to sepsis. In general, they were young and

healthy.”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to detect these infections because the symptoms

mimic those caused by medical abortion (a medical abortion is one induced

by drugs rather than surgery). “[A]lthough these women complained of

weakness, nausea and vomiting, these symptoms are consistent with the

medical abortion procedure, and they had no fever to indicate an

infection,” Souder noted. “Nevertheless, each woman died soon after being

hospitalized.”

Souder asked that the FDA respond to his questions by February 6. Then

there should be congressional hearings. Then RU-486 should be aborted.

Joseph A. D’Agostino is Vice President for Communications at the

Population Research Institute.

(For Congressman Souder’s letter and more information, go to www.pop.org ).

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