Senate Committee Defeats Effort to Suspend Dangerous Abortion Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Committee Defeats Effort to Suspend Dangerous Abortion Drug Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 19
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A Senate committee turned back a vote on an amendment to an FDA measure that would have suspended sales of the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, put forward the measure because the drug has killed several women in the United States.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted on the amendment Wednesday and defeated it on a 12-8 mostly party-line vote.

The amendment would have immediately suspended approval of any drug that have been approved by the FDA under subpart H that is associated with more deaths than lives saved.

The only currently approved drug likely to have been suspended by the amendment would have been RU-486, the abortion drug combination, which is associated with the death of at least six women in the U.S. alone — and an unknown number of unborn children — but has not saved a single life.

According to FDA reports as of December, there have now been eight known deaths associated with RU 486, nine life-threatening incidents, 116 blood transfusions, and 232 hospitalizations. In total, more than 1,050 women have had medical problems after using the drug.

The first victim of RU 486 was a Tennessee woman who died after using the abortion drug. She had an undetected ectopic pregnancy, and the drug is not supposed to be used in such situations.

Following her death, four California women died from using the abortion drug and the FDA announced last year that a Colorado woman had died as well.

Women have died from using the abortion drug in Canada, England, France and Sweden.

Voting for the amendment were Republican Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Wayne Allard of Colorado, and Coburn.

Democrats Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Patty Murrary of Washington, Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont all voted against the amendment.

Republican Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who normally votes pro-life, voted against the Coburn amendment as well.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was not present for the vote.

ACTION: Call 202-224-3121 and express your views about the abortion drug vote of any of your U.S. senators.