After 10 Years, RU 486 Abortion Drug Hasn’t Helped Women as Promised

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

After 10 Years, RU 486 Abortion Drug Hasn’t Helped Women as Promised

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Two women have written editorials about the tenth anniversary of the RU 486 abortion drug, which has been responsible for the deaths of dozens of women and injuring thousands more across the globe. They say the abortion pill was supposed to help women but can’t find any evidence of that.

Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council, and formerly an employee at the Health and Human Services Department writes in a column at Human Events that the drug has been entirely unsafe for women during the 10 years.

"Chemical abortions, while indeed legal, have over the last ten years posed major safety concerns including infection, life-threatening bleeding and even maternal death," Monahan writes. "Despite this dubious safety record, it appears to be a major goal of the abortion industry to increase the number of chemically induced abortions."

Monahan says the Food and Drug Administration approval process made it clear the Clinton administration, which approved the drug, had no interest in helping women.

"Looking back at the spring and summer of 2000, the FDA approval process of RU-486 was flawed, rushed, politicized and deviated from the FDA norm in a variety of ways, including the use of inferior clinical trials to support its safety," she noted. "For example, when the FDA’s advisory panel voted to approve RU-486 in 1996, American trial data was neither finished nor sufficient, so the FDA relied on French data primarily, which is atypical."

The pro-life writer says the FDA said the same data had been found by the FDA to be marked by “carelessness,” “fraud” and “evidence tampering.”

Monahan points to the death of Holly Patterson, an 18-year-old from California, who died after getting the abortion drug and bad instructions to take it vaginally from Planned Parenthood. That, she says, proves allowing sales of the abortion drug in the name of women was a fraud.

"As RU-486 celebrates its ten-year anniversary, one thing is ironic. The abortion movement promised decades ago that women having abortions would have the best medical attention—no more unsupervised, lonely abortions with women bleeding away in back alleys," she writes.

"Well, now with chemical, and especially with telemed abortions, women have less medical attention and still bleed away, having a lonely, unsupervised abortion over a toilet. Progress for women’s health? No," Monahan concludes. "Instead, pursuing an agenda of increasing chemical abortions at all costs, the abortion industry is reverting women’s health back to the Dark Ages."

Meanwhile, Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life also condemned the abortion drug in terms of its adverse impact on women.

"A look at the facts surrounding the FDA approval of the drug and its 10 years of use in the U.S. is sobering. Women’s health has been sacrificed and countless lives have been taken to advance the agenda of the abortion industry," she writes.

"RU-486 was not adequately tested for its safety and effectiveness and it does not provide any meaningful therapeutic benefit over surgical abortions already available. In one study, RU-486 failed in 18.3 percent of patients, while surgical abortions failed in only 4.7 percent of patients," Franzonello notes. "Taken alone, RU-486 fails in one-third of cases, so the regimen includes a second drug – a prostaglandin – that must also be taken."

Franzonello accuses the FDA, under the Obama administration, of continuing to ignore women’s health with its approval of the ella drug, which causes abortions but is billed as a morning after pill.

"In August 2010, the FDA approved the drug ella. Like RU-486, ella is a selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM). By blocking progesterone, an SPRM can either prevent a developing human embryo from implanting in the uterus, or it can kill an implanted embryo by starving it to death," she says.

"In addition, there are serious concerns about the lack of studies regarding the drug ella. The FDA’s prescribing instructions for ella note among the things that have not been studied are: the safety and efficacy of repeated use of ella, how ella may interact with hormonal contraceptives, the effects of ella on minors, the risks to a fetus when ella is administered to a pregnant woman, and risks to an infant when ella is taken by a nursing mother," he explained.

Franzonello says ella, like RU 486, subjugates women’s health to a second class status.

"September 28, 2010 is a somber anniversary. Ten years ago today the FDA put politics above women’s health. Unfortunately, it was not an isolated incident. The approval of ella demonstrates that when it comes to chemical abortion, advancing the abortion industry’s agenda is more important to the FDA than protecting women’s health," she concludes.


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