British Abortion Business to Misuse Cancer Drug on Australian Women

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 4, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 4
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A British abortion business announced its plans on Friday to misuse a cancer drug on women in Australia. Marie Stopes International will do abortions there with the drugs methotrexate and misoprostol because the country hasn’t yet approved nationwide sales of the dangerous RU 486 abortion pill.

MSI tested the drugs in a pilot program involving 100 women in Sydney in August. Its top abortion practitioner Philip Goldstone told The West newspaper that none of the women suffered any complications other than diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

As a result, he said the abortion company would begin selling the lethal drug combination at its eight Australian abortion centers in NSW, the ACT, Queensland and Western Australia.

He said staff at abortion facilities would soon begin getting training in how to use the abortion cocktail.

“RU 486 would still be our preferred option, because it’s slightly more effective, but even that’s not enormous," he told the newspaper.

Abortion practitioners have come under fire before from the Australian government and medical experts for misusing the cancer medication.

Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal said in July he is concerned about the off-label use of the drug.

"A drug that’s being used for a purpose that it’s not registered, it would certainly cause significant concern," he said. "Because obviously there is a license for which the drug is there to be used for, and if it’s used for other things it then becomes problematic."

"You’ve got to have a scientific basis for using it and need to make sure processes are properly adhered to because then that gives patients some degree of security about what’s going on and it gives some protection for the doctor who’s using that medication," he explained

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Ken Clark said methotrexate is an "experimental option" and needs to be approved before its used.

Also, Monash University chairman of obstetrics and gynecology David Healy told The Age that methotrexate was "best left as a cancer medicine."

The MSI trial results also differ with those of another abortion practitioner.

Geoff Brodie, the medical director of Australian Birth Control Services, did 60 abortions using the methotrexate drug and reported earlier this year that two of the women needed surgical abortions because the drug failed to work properly.

Abortion practitioners have also misused misoprostol, also called Cytotec, to cause abortions. The maker of that drug, Searle, has issued warnings in both the United States and Australia that the misuse is dangerous for women.

Meanwhile, even the pro-abortion group Women on Waves, which floated abortion boats outside Poland and Portugal, admitted that using misoprostol as an abortion drug is dangerous for women.

"Abortions with misoprostol are less safe and less reliable than a normal abortion by a doctor," the group said on its web site, in September 2004.

WOW admitted that the makeshift abortion drug could fail as much as 10 percent of the time, leaving women in dangerous medical situations.

"There is a risk of heavy bleeding for which a woman will have to be treated by a doctor," WOW said on its web site. "Also Misoprostol can cause very strong cramps, nausea and vomiting."

The group even said using the anti-cancer pill for abortions "should never be used in a country where abortion is legal."