Catholic Bishops Criticize Ella Abortion Drug, Which Media Calls Morning After Pill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 25, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops Criticize Ella Abortion Drug, Which Media Calls Morning After Pill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 25
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — A representative of the nation’s Catholic bishops is criticizing the Ella abortion drug, which a Food and Drug Administration panel recently approved the sale of as supposedly an "emergency contraception." USSCB spokeswoman Susan Will said the decision was essentially a "foregone conclusion."

Willis said she "can’t recall the last time the FDA rejected an application for any new ‘reproductive health’ drug or device—no matter how risky it proved to be for mothers or unborn children?"

"The agency routinely approves drugs and devices to block reproduction that are later found unacceptably dangerous for women," Willis said, noting the FDA still has not recalled the patch, despite its link to the deaths of at least 29 apparently healthy young women due to blood clots. "While some at the FDA may believe their deaths to be an acceptable trade-off so that others can avoid pregnancy, the victims’ families no doubt feel differently."

Willis, who is the Assistant Director for Education & Outreach for the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, says it is "false and deceptive" for the FDA panel, the media and abortion advocates to promote Ella as an "emergency contraceptive" like Preven and Plan B.

"Depending when they are taken relative to ovulation and intercourse, Preven and Plan B may act primarily as contraceptives (by disrupting ovulation, for example), or sometimes as very early abortifacients (by modes of action that interfere with the embryo’s movement to the womb or ability to implant there)," the USCCB official explained.

But the reason the backers of Ella can promote it as "more effective" is because Ella, "like its close chemical cousin RU-486—blocks progesterone receptors in the uterine lining," Willis explains. "This destroys the capacity of the mother’s reproductive organs to produce the progesterone necessary to support the embryo through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy."

"Because Ella is formulated precisely to prevent a newly conceived human being from implanting in and receiving nutrition from the uterine lining, or to disrupt the process if it has begun, the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists properly calls Ella an embryocidal drug," Willis says.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the top pro-life spokesman for the nation’s bishops, wrote the FDA a letter on June 17 saying, "Millions of American women, even those willing to use a contraceptive to prevent fertilization in various circumstances, would personally never choose to have an abortion. They would be ill served by a misleading campaign to present [Ella] simply as a ‘contraceptive’."

Willis points out that, when used in animal studies, Ella killed rat, rabbit, and monkey embryos, and caused severe congenital defects in embryos whose gestational age was advanced when Ella was administered.

"This is an important point. In all three major clinical trials in women, some women were later found to have been pregnant before the intercourse for which they sought "emergency contraception." In addition, trials have shown that Ella fails to kill the newly conceived human embryos in about 2% of cases," Willis says. "The survivors may then face severe congenital anomalies. Lastly, Ella has been detected in maternal tissues 14 days after taking the drug, so children conceived during that period also could be deformed or killed by the drug."

Willis concludes: "The FDA must drop the fantasy that Ella is contraception, and reject Ella in order to safeguard the lives and health of children exposed to this poison pill."


Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.