Pro-Life Group Says Cal. Senator Pushed for Lower Abortion Drug Standards

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 20, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group Says Cal. Senator Pushed for Lower Abortion Drug Standards

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 20, 2003

Washington, DC ( — Last week, Concerned Women for America released a June 2000 letter by California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) calling for the FDA to relax standards regarding the RU 486 abortion drug that the agency approved only months later.

The information comes at a time when the FDA, state officials and others are investigating the death of a California teen. Holly Patterson, 18, died only days after taking the two-pill abortion drug.

CWA president Sandy Rios says the letter may have contributed to the FDA loosening its patient safety standards for the drug.

"Sen. Boxer’s eagerness to carry water for the abortion lobby may very well have contributed to the death of one of her own constituents. Certain patient safety standards were eliminated by the FDA — standards that Sen. Boxer insisted be eliminated," said Sandy Rios. "What should be more important to Sen. Boxer than the health and safety of a young girl?"

During the clinical trials for the abortion drug, virtually all women experienced some sort of complication and 23 percent of them considered "severe." At the time, FDA officials wanted to limit distribution of the drug only to doctors who met certain qualifications:

* They must have been able to handle the complications resulting from an incomplete abortion (necessary in 5 to 8 percent of cases, such as the situation that led to Holly Patterson’s death).

* They also must have been trained at performing ultrasounds and be able to detect ectopic pregnancies. Danco Labratories, the maker of Ru 486 says the abortion drug should not be taken by women who have such pregnancies and, in fact, an undetected ectopic pregnancy led to the death of Brenda Vise in 2001.

* The FDA also said those who disseminate the abortiojn pills should be required to take a training program and have admitting priviledges at a nearby hospital to be able to provide follow-up medical care for women who have botched abortions.

In her letter, Boxer calls the satey procedures "barriers" and "draconian restrictions" and the FDA ultimately eliminated all of these safety standards when it approved RU 486 for use.

"The letter clearly raises questions about the role political pressure may have played in the death of Holly Patterson, and Sen. Boxer should answer for that," Rios concluded.