Study: Abortion Drug Fails 23 Percent of the Time, Surgical Abortions Necessary

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study: Abortion Drug Fails 23 Percent of the Time, Surgical Abortions Necessary

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Abortion advocates have promoted the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 (mifepristone) in part by saying it can cause an abortion without women having to have a surgical abortion. However, a new study shows the abortion drug fails anywhere from 16-23 percent of the time.

When the mifepristone abortion drug fails, a follow-up surgical abortion is necessary because an incomplete abortion can result in major medical problems, including death.

Melissa Strafford of the Boston Medical Center presented the results of her study at the recent American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists annual meeting.

The abortion drug includes a combination of mifepristone, the drug that causes the starvation death of the unborn child and misoprostol, an ulcer drug misused to cause contractions that expel the body of the dead baby.

Although the FDA has called for a 48 hour interval between the use of mifepristone and misoprostol, many abortion centers give women the two drugs simultaneously or within a shorter period of each other, usually within hours on the same day.

Strafford’s study was to examine the effectiveness of the abortion drug in completing an abortion of the unborn child using either the 48-hour interval or shorter ones.

The abortion drug failed to complete the abortion in 23 percent of the women getting the two drugs simultaneously and failed to finish the abortion process for 16 percent of the women getting the drugs 48 hours apart.

Ultimately, Strafford said abortion centers should no longer give women the two drugs on the same day because "simultaneous administration was associated with increased risk of surgical intervention."

“We have changed our practice at Boston Medical Center and we no longer offer simultaneous administration of mifepristone and misoprostol for medical abortions,” she said.

But, for Dr. Randy O’Bannon, the director of research and education for National Right to Life, there failure rates and need for surgical abortions present bigger problems for women.

"Those who have developed and promoted RU 486 have told women that the abortifacient offers them a way to have an abortion without the risk of surgery," he told

"Yet, the abortion industry’s efforts to tamper with the FDA protocol, changing doses, lengthening the gestational limits, shortening the time between the administration of [the two drugs] have decreased the ‘effectiveness’ of the drugs and put many of these women in line for surgical abortions after their chemical abortions failed," he said.

"Attempts to make the process more convenient for women, for the clinics, may help the industry attract more customers, but as this latest study shows, it exposes women to additional risks," O’Bannon continued.

"As long as the abortion industry puts its own profits and preferences ahead of patient safety, both mothers and their unborn children will continue to face danger behind clinic doors," he said.

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