FDA: Abortion Drugs That Killed Women in California Not Contaminated

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

FDA: Abortion Drugs That Killed Women in California Not Contaminated Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 23, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Food and Drug Administration released an initial report on its investigation into the deaths of four women in California who died after using the dangerous RU 486 abortion pill. The drug monitoring agency says the drugs were not contaminated but noted that all four women died from a rare blood infection.

The FDA will further test the abortion pill Mifepristone to find out why it killed the women via a deadly bacterial virus, Clostridium sordellii.

Despite the deaths, the FDA says it has no immediate plans to place restrictions on the sale of the drug or to pull it from the market while its safety is reviewed, as pro-life groups and lawmakers have asked.

The FDA looked into the deaths when it discovered all four women lived in California. The agency quietly tested the abortion pills to see if they were contaminated and found they were not, according to a New York Times report.

Because they have not reached a conclusive conclusion on the deaths, FDA and Centers for Disease Control officials will put together a scientific meeting next year to discuss the problem, according to two FDA officials who spoke with the Times.

The officials said the discussion will center on how and why the RU 486 abortion drug, also known as Mifeprex, makes women vulnerable to the Clostridium sordellii bacteria. They want to discover how the infection "could be more easily diagnosed and even prevented" one official said.

The FDA put warnings on the abortion drug label in July about the risk of infection from the lethal bacteria. The abortion drug now contains the agency’s highest black box warnings, the strictest they put on any drug for sale to patients.

Cynthia Summers, a spokeswoman for abortion drug maker Danco Laboratories, which has denied any role the abortion drug played in the deaths of the women, says she has no idea why the women died.

"I don’t have an answer for you, and because of that I don’t have any running theories," she told the Times.

The women who died all had Clostridium sordellii infections in their uteruses that eventually spread to their bloodstream. They all died before they knew they were lethally sick. A woman in Canada also died from taking the abortion drugs and she, too, had the presence of the deadly bacteria in her system.

No similar deaths have been reported in Europe, but the abortion drug is not used vaginally as much as it is in the United States. Planned Parenthood has come under fire for encouraging women to use the abortion drug vaginally, which goes against FDA recommendations.

Wendy Wright, executive vice president of Concerned Women for America, told the Times the latest news once again proves the drug is unsafe for women. She believes more women may have died from the abortion drug but their deaths have gone unreported because death certificates may have only reported the infections and not the abortions causing them.

"I’m pleased that the FDA is taking a serious look at this," she said, "and hope that they will no longer allow this drug to be available to cause the deaths of more women."