Italy Health Minister Stops RU 486 Abortion Drug Trials After Problems

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Italy Health Minister Stops RU 486 Abortion Drug Trials After Problems

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 23, 2005

Rome, Italy ( — Italian Health Minister Francesco Storace suspended Italy’s experimental trials of the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug on Wednesday. The decision comes two weeks after a hospital in the northern city of Turin began the initial test runs of supplying women with the drugs for abortions.

Storace said he made the decision to halt the trials because reports had surfaced showing one in 20 women taking the abortion drugs were having partial abortions at home followed by excessive bleeding.

He said the health risks combined with the illegality of abortions not being performed in a hospital prompted him to shut down the experiment.

The decision follows information from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States showing five women have from infections resulting form using the mifepristone abortion drug.

Abortion advocates are already decrying the decision as political rather than related to women’s health concerns. They say Storace, who is aligned with the conservative National Alliance party is trying to chip away at the 1978 law that legalized abortion there.

"In the end, (the abortion law) is the target," said Margherita Boniver, a top Foreign Ministry official and a leading abortion advocate in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi‘s center-right governing coalition.

"The current government doesn’t have enough time to change the law but they are going to keep putting it to the test with restrictions," she told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Storace said any future tests of the abortion drug must be only be conducted on women in a hospital setting.