Woman Dies Following Use of RU 486 Abortion Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 19, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Woman Dies Following Use of RU 486 Abortion Drug

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 19, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A California woman died shortly after taking the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug she received from a local Planned Parenthood.

Local officials are investigating the death of Holly Patterson, 18, who died Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. She received the abortion drugs from Planned Parenthood on September 10 to cause an abortion of her seven-week unborn child.

"A patient who recently sought health care services at a Planned Parenthood health care center died yesterday at a hospital in Pleasanton," Dian Harrison, president of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, said in a statement Thursday evening. "The cause of death is unknown at this time. . . . We extend our deepest sympathy to the family. We wish them strength and support in this tough time."

Holly’s father Monty Patterson said his daughter went to a Planned Parenthood in Hayward, California, on Wednesday of last week. Holly began taking the abortion drugs on Saturday. She lived with her father and did not tell him about the pregnancy.

"On Sunday, she was crying and crying, and she told me she was having cramps, that she had a bad period," Monty told the Chronicle.

He said he only learned of her pregnancy hours before she died.

Between the time Holly took the abortion drugs and her death, she was in severe pain, bleeding heavily and was unable to walk.

Her boyfriend took her to a local medical center on Sunday. Holly was given painkillers and released.

Holly then went to a local hospital overnight on Tuesday and by Wednesday afternoon she was dead. The Alameda County coroner’s office confirmed it was investigating Patterson’s death and had not yet established the cause of death.

"The tragic death of this young woman illustrates the recklessness of fast-tracking the FDA approval of the chemical abortion method RU 486," Michaelene Jenkins, director of the Life Resource Network, told LifeNews.com.

Jenkins wondered whether Planned Parenthood informed Holly of the risks associated with the abortion drug.

"Most women seek abortion out of desperation," Jenkins explained. "They are unaware of the possible risks and complications of the procedure as well as the community resources that are available to help them if they desire to carry the pregnancy to term."

Last year, the deaths of two women from mifepristone (RU 486) prompted the FDA to issue warning letters about the abortion drug.

Pro-life groups say the death also points to the need for parental involvement laws. Had California had a law requiring parents to be notified, Monty Patterson could have talked her out of the abortion or have been better able to her following the complications.

The maker of Cytotec, an ulcer drug used as the second part of RU 486 to deliver the dead baby, has previously issued warnings not to use their drug in combination with the abortion pill.

In August 2000, more than a month before RU-486 was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Searle, the maker of Cytotec, sent out a strongly worded letter, with the cooperation of the FDA, saying misoprostol "is not approved for the induction of labor or abortion." The letter said misuse of the drug can cause adverse effects such as a ruptured uterus, vaginal bleeding and "maternal or fetal death."

Danco Laboratories, producer of the abortion drug in the U.S. sent letters to doctors in April 2002 saying that six women have died from using the abortion drug in North America.