Pro-Life Groups Renew Call to Pull Abortion Drug RU 486, Despite FDA Mtg

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 17, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Renew Call to Pull Abortion Drug RU 486, Despite FDA Mtg Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 17, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Despite a joint FDA-CDC meeting last week looking into why the abortion drug RU 486 has killed seven women, pro-life advocates say they still want the dangerous abortion pill pulled from the market. Their renewed efforts come on a day when a Congressional subcommittee is looking into the problem further.

Deirdre McQuade, of the pro-life office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said her group has renewed its call for Congress to approve Holly’s Law, a measure named for Holly Patterson, a California teenager who died from a lethal infection brought on by the abortion drug.

The bill would prohibit sales of the abortion drug officials examine its safety problems.

“The CDC workshop is a constructive step, but no substitute for the provisions in Holly’s Law, as it neither addresses the distinct risks posed by RU-486 nor offers any immediate protection of women’s lives," McQuade said.

A spokeswoman for pro-life Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican who is chairing today’s hearings on the abortion drug, agreed.

"Considering the evidence we have of deaths and serious side effects, the maker of this drug should have taken it off the market long ago," Michelle Gress told the Washington Post.

However, instead of finding support from the federal agency for taking the abortion drug out of the marketplace, they’re likely to be stonewalled.

Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, appeared to side with abortion advocates.

She attempted to place the blame for the deaths and the 950 women who have suffered a wide range of medical complications — some requiring hospitalization, blood transfusions or emergency surgeries — on something else.

"We think it’s premature to say there is any direct relationship between [RU-486] and these clostridium deaths," Kweder told the Washington Post. "The situation is far more complicated than we originally imagined, and far more broad than anything limited to this drug."

But, that’s not what scientists who attended the abortion drug panel last week indicated.

Dr. Ralph Miech, an associate professor of pharmacology at Brown University, has already done some of the most comprehensive research on the problem. As a panelist at the meeting, he told officials the abortion drug suppresses the immune system and increases the possibility for a lethal infection.

Health investigator Esther Sternberg also reported to the FDA-CDC meeting that tests using the abortion drug on mice found that their immune systems were badly compromised and that the same thing is probably happening to women using RU 486.

Dr. James McGregor, an obstetrics professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, agreed that the problems are sufficient to warrant limiting the use of the abortion drug or pulling it from the market entirely.

"I recommend we reduce or eliminate mifepristone, or at least consider that," McGregor said.

The subcommittee hearing will likely look into why the FDA has not removed the drug from the market.

Because the maker of the abortion drug has not pulled it, "that leaves it up to the FDA to act, and we want to see what they’ve done and what they haven’t done, and why," Gress said.


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