FDA Announces Agenda for Meeting on RU 486 Abortion Drug Deaths

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

FDA Announces Agenda for Meeting on RU 486 Abortion Drug Deaths Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 8, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The FDA has announced the agenda for its upcoming meeting in Atlanta with the Centers for Disease Control, which will see the two agencies investigate why five women have died from lethal bacterial infections after using the RU 486 abortion drug.

The abortion pill has claimed the lives of six American women and possibly as many as five women internationally.

The Thursday meeting will focus on the bacterial infection known as Clostridium sordellii, which is a common vaginal bacteria.

According to the Wall St. Journal, panels of scientists will discuss the infection and why the abortion drugs caused it, but they will not discuss any regulatory actions limiting sales of the drug or pulling it from the market.

An FDA official told the WSJ that the agency might consider more action regarding the abortion drug but wouldn’t announce any specifics and said possible action would only come after the science is discussed at the meeting.

Last summer, Brown University researcher Ralph Miech, MD, Ph.D., developed models to explain why women died after using the abortion drug.

Miech says the abortion drug triggers a bacterial infection in a woman’s cervical canal that doesn’t normally occur. The bacteria thrives on the decaying tissue from the dying unborn child and impairs the woman’s ability to fight off the infection.

He said the antiprogesterone effects of mifepristone also cause changes in the cervix that allow C. sordellii to enter the cervical canal.

Miech believes the women contracted the infections because Planned Parenthood told them to take the second part of the two drug abortion process vaginally. The FDA recommends taking both pills orally.

After the FDA announced in April that a fifth American woman had died form the lethal infection in less than two years, Planned Parenthood finally indicated it would change its protocols and tell women to use the drugs orally.

Four of the five who died recently after using the RU 486 abortion pills had the C. sordellii bacteria present in their systems upon investigation. They all lived in California The status of the fifth death, a woman from Colorado, is unknown.

The FDA and CDC scientists are expected to discuss why the deaths have all occurred in the western U.S. and mostly in one state and whether Planned Parenthood’s instructions led to them.

Because the bacteria causes problems so quickly, and without the normal telltale signs, the FDA has placed its highest black box warning label on the abortion pills.

Pro-life groups and the family of Holly Patterson, a teen who died in September 2003 after using the RU 486 drugs, have called for the passage of a Congressional bill taking the drug off the market while its safety can be reviewed.

The county coroner who examined Patterson’s body said the bacterial infection brought on by the abortion pills caused her death. She obtained the drug at a Planned Parenthood business.

Officials from the National Right to Life Committee and Concerned Women for America are expected to attend the meeting and audience members are allowed to ask questions of the panel.

Danco Laboratories, which manufactures the drug, it’s only product, is also expected to be represented at the Thursday meeting.

Abortion practitioners have also decried the high rate of complications from using the abortion drugs and say that they are considering not using the abortion pill.

Damon Stutes, who does abortions in Reno, Nevada, sees the risk.

"The complications associated with RU-486 far exceed the complications of surgical abortions," he told the Times. Stutes refuses to give women the abortion drug now.