Australia Practitioner Claims Abortion Drug Safe Despite Limited Use

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 20
, 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — An abortion practitioner in Australia who was the first to be allowed to dispense the mifepristone drug there claims it’s safe. Her conclusion, however, is drawn after only limited use on 20 women and it contradicts evidence gathered in the United States that is poses numerous dangers for women.

Caroline De Costa, who runs an abortion business in the Northeast city of Cairnes, has used the abortion drug on approximately 20 women and claims none have had complications.

In April, she was the first abortion practitioner granted permission from the Therapeutic Goods Administration to give women the abortion drug.

"It’s been safe, we’ve had no complications and it’s effective and we followed the TGA guidelines," she told The Age newspaper.

She indicated that all of the women had their abortions within hours of taking the abortion drug and heavy bleeding was the only reported problem afterwards. None of the women required follow-up surgery to complete an incomplete abortion.

De Costa also said she has only given women the abortion drug who had a condition that was "life-threatening or otherwise serious that would be exacerbated by continuing a pregnancy." According to a report in The Age, those conditions included severe high blood pressure, severe kidney disease, recent major breast surgery and severe depression.

"In all women the abortion process has occurred within four hours of the administration of misoprostol and has been uncomplicated," she said in a statement. She said all the women had "expressed satisfaction with the procedure of early medical abortion."

However, despite the limited use in Australia, women worldwide have been killed or injured from the RU 486 abortion drug.

In total 12 women have died in the United States, Canada, Britain, France and Sweden and has received new, unconfirmed reports of a death in Cuba.

In the United States alone, FDA reports indicate that 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.

Dr. James McGregor, an obstetrics professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, says the abortion drug is presenting so many problems that he suggests 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.

Dr. Ralph Miech, an associate professor of pharmacology at Brown University, has done significant research on the six women in the United States who have died after using the abortion drug. He concluded that it suppresses the immune system and increases the possibility for a lethal infection.

The TGA was given authority in Australia to govern usage of mifepristone after the nation’s parliament voted to remove authority over it from pro-life Health Minister Tony Abbott.

Though De Costa can prescribe the abortion drug, its remains unavailable for most women in Australia because a drug company has yet to apply for permission to sell it nationwide.