The Family Research Council has released an extensive research report on the RU 486 (mifepristone) abortion drug and the number are staggering.
Relying on FDA figures the agency disseminated in April 2011, FRC indicates more than 1.2 million unborn children have lost their lives due to the abortion pill and thousands of women have been injured — including more than a dozen who have died in the United States alone.
Here are some of the top takes from the new report, authored by researcher Chris Gacek, who received a Bachelors of Science in economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, a Masters and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law:
The FDA estimates that as of the end of April 2011, 1.52 million American women had taken RU-486 to induce an abortion.
On the unsafe effects of RU 486 for women:
Dr. Ralph Miech, emeritus professor at Brown University’s medical school, has published two peer-reviewed articles describing potentially undesirable effects related to RU-486 and its anti-glucocorticoid properties. First, he believes that RU-486’s blockade of cortisol receptors on bacteria-destroying white blood cells may impede the antibacterial defense mechanism of the innate immune system. Such interference, he hypothesizes, played a significant role in the deaths of at least five North Americans in which there was a post abortion, bacterial invasion of the uterus and subsequent septic shock. Second, prompted by an article describing mifepristone-related adverse events with significant and unexpected levels of hemorrhage, Miech’s second article argues that RU-486 appears to interfere with the body’s ability to control uterine hemorrhage. Such interference, if true, would be a dangerous feature of an abortion procedure that is designed to produce a simulated miscarriage. As will be noted below, the number of hemorrhage/transfusion and serious infection cases revealed by FDA support Miech’s concern about RU-486 and hemorrhage.
Looking at specific cases of the abortion drug hurting women:
FDA’s April 2011 RU-486 Adverse Events Summary states that “[t]he estimated number of women who have used mifepristone in the US through the end of April 2011 is approximately 1.52 million women.” As noted above, FDA calculated that by that date there had been 2,207 adverse event reports submitted to FDA. Prior to a 2006 oversight hearing on RU-486 safety, FDA told Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) that it had received 1,070 AERs. Thus, in the second five years of mifepristone marketing in the United States, the FDA received an additional 1,137 AERs-a total which seems consistent with the first five years.
The April 2011 RU-486 Adverse Events Summary states that there were 612 reports of hospitalization received as of April 30, 2011.
FDA’s April 2011 RU-486 Adverse Events Summary indicates that 339 women “experienced blood loss requiring a transfusion” after taking the RU-486 abortion regimen.
By April 2011 FDA had fifty-eight reports of ectopic pregnancy cases – with two resulting in death – in conjunction with mifepristone-misoprostol use.
In the April 2011 RU-486 Adverse Events Summary FDA associated fourteen American deaths to the use of the mifepristone-misoprostol abortion regimen.
And, according to a study on medical abortion’s safety and effectiveness published in Obstetrics & Gynecology and that Gacek noted, the abortion drug is more dangerous for women than surgical abortions:
“Overall, medical abortion had roughly four times the rate of adverse events than surgical abortion did: 20.0% of women in the medical-abortion group and 5.6% of women in the surgical-abortion group had at least one type of adverse event. Hemorrhage, as an adverse event, was experienced by 15.6% of medical abortion patients compared with 2.1% for surgical patients. Incomplete abortions were experienced by 6.7% of medical abortion patients while only 1.6% of surgical patients had incomplete abortions. The rate for surgical (re)evacuation of the uterus was 5.9% (medical) versus 1.8% (surgical) for all causes (hemorrhage, infection, incomplete abortion).
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The author concludes that the abortion drug should certainly not be expanded to other nations:
Medical abortions fail frequently, and they often produce serious hemorrhage and infection. For example, according to the April 2011 RU-486 Adverse Events Summary there were reports to FDA that 339 American women had blood loss significant enough to require transfusions. There were 256 reported cases of infection reported in the United States. Approximately 15-20 known deaths have been associated with the regimen worldwide, but this number is almost certainly quite low since our data does not include developing countries like China and India where the regimen’s use is heavy.[
The track record established by RU-486 makes it clear that the push for the widespread use of medical abortion in poor nations is inhumane and detrimental to the interests of the female patients who take these pills. First, unless ultrasound equipment is available, ectopic pregnancy cannot be ruled out. Second, access to clean blood for transfusions is a necessity. Third, a surgical procedure must be offered as the back-up for women who have had incomplete medical abortions.