Pro-Life Lawmakers Launch Legislation to Halt RU 486 Sales

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Lawmakers Launch Legislation to Halt RU 486 Sales

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6, 2003

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life Congressional lawmakers officially launched legislation Thursday to review the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. As reported exclusively by earlier this week, pro-life members of Congress have proposed legislation that would halt the sale of mifepristone pending a review of its approval.

The effort is led by pro-life Reps. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). At a news conference this morning, DeMint said 59 members have signed on as co-sponsors.

The pro-life bill would suspend the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug and the congressional General Accounting Office would conduct a review of its use.

“What makes Holly Patterson’s untimely death even more tragic is that it was preventable,” DeMint said.

“When the Clinton administration rushed approval of RU-486 in its waning days in 2000, many Members of Congress knew that the FDA cut corners and compromised safety," DeMint added. "We should not have to wait for another death before Congress suspends FDA’s approval of RU 486 and conducts an independent review of the irregular procedures the FDA used to push this drug onto the market.”

At least three other women have died from RU 486 in North America and at least 13 have required blood transfusions due to excessive blood loss. In 5-8 percent of cases, RU 486 causes severe complications. Danco, the drug’s manufacturer, has reported at least 400 adverse events since RU 486 was approved.

Abortion advocates are expected to oppose the legislation.

Vicky Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, a trade group for abortion facilities, claims there is no evidence to show the abortion drug is unsafe, despite it causing the recent death of a California teenager. She said the legislation is "politically motivated."

DeMint said the bill would unofficially be called "Holly’s Law," after Holly Patterson who died in September after obtaining the RU 486 abortion drug from a local Planned Parenthood.

Though the abortion drug was approved by the FDA, Congress has the ability to regulate drug use.

The bill would achieve what a citizen petition to the FDA requested over a year ago, when Concerned Women for America and two pro-life medical associations presented evidence that RU-486 was wrongly approved under political pressure.

"If the FDA had acted quickly to address this problem, legislation would not have been necessary and at least one life might have been spared," said Wendy Wright, CWA’s senior policy director.

An autopsy conducted on Holly by the county coroner determined that the abortion drug produced an incomplete abortion, which caused an inflammation of the uterus and produced a septic shock that resulted in her death.

The California Department of Health Services and the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research are also conducting investigations into Holly’s death.