Researcher Confirms Abortion Drug Causes Rare Infection Killing Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 27, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Researcher Confirms Abortion Drug Causes Rare Infection Killing Women Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 27, 2005

Providence, RI ( — A Brown University researcher says the abortion drug RU 486 causes rare bacterial infections in women that are not usually seen anywhere else. An article scheduled to appear in the September issue of The Annals of Pharmacotherapy confirms the drug is responsible for the women’s deaths.

During a pill-induced abortion, women take a two-part drug process.

The first drug, mifepristone, works by blocking the effects of progesterone, shutting off nutrition to the placenta and the developing baby. The second drug, misoprostol, is a cancer drug that is misused to cause contractions and expel the deceased unborn child.

Professor Ralph P. Miech, MD, Ph.D. writes that the antiprogesterone effects of mifepristone also cause changes in the cervix that allow C. sordellii, a common vaginal bacteria, to enter the cervical canal.

"C. sordellii thrives in this low-oxygen environment and derives nutrition from the decaying fetal tissue," Miech explains. Meanwhile, mifepristone produces other hormonal effects, known as antiglucocorticoid actions.

Dr. Miech proposes two models showing how those hormonal effects prevent the woman’s immune system from fighting off the bacteria and, in fact, may help it spread. That combination can result in a septic shock — the kind that killed the women taking the Mifeprix abortion pills.

The FDA and Danco Laboratories, maker of the abortion drug, report that five women have died in the United States, four of them from California. Three of the women were known to have the C. sordellii bacteria in their bodies when they died.

According to Miech, C. sordellii infections are "rare outside of mifepristone use" and are particularly dangerous because women do not show any telltale signs of infection or fever and tenderness upon examination.

"[I]t appears that the mechanisms of mifepristone action favor the development of infection that leads to septic shock," Miech explained.

That’s the same conclusion Frank Gentle, supervising coroner investigator who looked into Holly Patterson’s death, reached when he performed her autopsy.

He said "septic shock, due to endomyometritis (inflammation) due to therapeutic, drug-induced abortion," caused Patterson’s death. Endomyometritis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the uterus.

In other words, "the abortion caused inflammation, which caused the shock, which caused her death," Gentle said.

The FDA, in late 2004, required Danco to improve it’s black-box warning label to indicate that bacterial infections may occur and that women taking the abortion drugs may show no signs of infection.

Earlier this month, and weeks after another woman died from using the abortion drug, Danco announced it would finally implement the new warning labels and alert doctors and emergency room directors about the potential problems.

Danco also denied that the abortion drug played any role in the women’s deaths.

Miech is a professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology at Brown Medical School.

Related web sites:
The Annals of Pharmacotherapy –