Study: Abortion Pill Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Dangerous for Babies

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 30, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study: Abortion Pill Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Dangerous for Babies Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 30, 2004

Lyon, France ( — A study by a French doctor using an abortion drug to treat pregnant women with arthritis shows that the drug is dangerous to their unborn children.

Some doctors have used the abortion drug Methotrexate to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. However, there is a concern that the drug could cause physical disabilities for unborn children of pregnant women using the drug in a non-abortion manner.

The study, conducted by Dr. Thierry Vial of Center de Pharmacovigilance in Lyon, France, appears to confirm that concern.

Vial and colleagues examined the risk of physical problems for unborn children of pregnant women given low doses of Methotrexate. Published in the Journal of Rheumatology, the study examined just 28 women.

Of the women involved in the study, four experienced miscarriages and nineteen women gave birth. Nine others chose to have abortions.

Of the nineteen women who gave birth, three gave birth prematurely. Three other babies developed physical problems such as a deformity of the feet and an eyelid angioma, one had jaundice, and another infant had transient respiratory distress.

Though he hasn’t had an opportunity to study the survey, Dr. Randy O’Bannon, director of education for the National Right to Life Committee, said the research is further evidence that abortion drugs are harmful.

"Four spontaneous abortions out of twenty-eight (about 14%) doesn’t sound good," O’Bannon told

Dr. O’Bannon also wonders how the doctors selected this group of women to study and whether there were miscarriages among other Methotrexate patients not included in the group.

O’Bannon indicated that other studies conducted using the misoprostol abortion drug show "widespread malformations" that "often occur" such as fused or missing fingers, toes, club feet.

"Methotrexate is a powerful drug that should not be used lightly," Dr. O’Bannon told

"It is one thing, however, to talk about the risks and benefits of Methotrexate for a person debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis and something else entirely to talk about the use of Methotrexate on absolutely healthy patients to induce abortions," O’Bannon concluded. "Elective abortion is an absolutely unnecessary risk and the loss of an unborn child is no benefit."

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –