FDA Tells Congressional Cmte It Doesn’t Know if Abortion Drug Killed Women

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

FDA Tells Congressional Cmte It Doesn’t Know if Abortion Drug Killed Women

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 17, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Though scientists told Food and Drug Administration officials at a meeting last week that the abortion drug RU 486 is responsible for the deaths of seven women and explained how it likely killed them, an FDA representative told Congress Wednesday that the agency doesn’t know if the drug is responsible for their deaths.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for operations, spoke before a Congressional subcommittee investigating the abortion deaths.

She said she wasn’t sure if the abortion drug brought on the lethal bacterial infections that recently killed four California women, another in Colorado and one woman in an undisclosed Midwestern state.

“It is not possible at this time to determine whether the current mifepristone/misoprostol regimen for abortion results in increased risk for C. sordellii infection,” Woodcock claimed, according to an AP report.

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

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.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican who chaired the committee hearing, said the FDA’s own reports show the problems the abortion drug poses for women.

Saying RU 486 demonstrated “a low standard for women’s health," Souder pointed to FDA reports showing more than 950 have suffered medical complications from the abortion drug including many women who had severe infections and others that required hospitalization, emergency surgery or blood transfusions.

Abortion advocates on the committee claimed pro-life lawmakers were putting politics over science but Rep. Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, said the issue is about women’s health.

According to an AP report, she indicated that regulators were quick to go after a Bausch & Lomb cleaning solution that presented serious but non-lethal problems for users.

“We’re real careful about other things about your body, but with women’s bodies it seems we’re not that careful,” Schmidt said.