CDC: Two More U.S. Women Have Died From Using RU 486 Abortion Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 1, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

CDC: Two More U.S. Women Have Died From Using RU 486 Abortion Drug

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 1
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The Centers for Disease Control has reported that two more women in the United States than previously thought have died from using the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. The news comes just days after the 10-year anniversary of the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug.

The new information comes from a CDC report issued September 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The two women died after developing a Clostridium sordellii infection after using the abortion drug. Two separate studies — conducted by the University of Michigan and a Brown University researcher — showed that off-label use of the drug caused the infections in the women who took it and the infections led to septic shock that claimed their lives.

The two new cases include the 2008 death of a 29-year-old Hispanic woman and the 2009 death of a 21-year-old Caucasian woman.

The early deaths of women from the RU 486 abortion drug included four California women who all died within a week of using the abortion drug they received from Planned Parenthood abortion businesses. Planned Parenthood had been telling women to use the abortion drug vaginally, even though the FDA indicated oral use is safer. The abortion business ultimately changed its policy to conform to the FDA protocol.

The women’s deaths brings the total number of deaths in the United States from the abortion drug to eight.

On an international level, one woman died in Canada, two have died in England, one died from using the abortion pill in Sweden, and the maker of the abortion drug in Europe confirms there are dozens more women who have died from using the abortion drug whose deaths have largely gone unreported.

Monte Patterson, whose daughter Holly Patterson died after using the abortion drug she received from a San Francisco-area Planned Parenthood, said he is disappointed by the news.

He said the deaths of nine women from the abortion pill "can’t be ignored" and called on the FDA to review the safety of the mifepristone pill.

"The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health. They need to reevaluate the risk, safety and efficacy of the drug they approved 10 years ago," he said.

Patterson believes the FDA also needs to step up its process for learning about and conveying to the public information about women who have died from or been injured by the RU 486 drug.

"Reporting of death and serious side effects from medical abortion drugs is voluntary for doctors. These newly reported deaths could represent just a small fraction of women injured by the drug. The FDA estimates only about 10% of problems with drugs are reported," he told

Patterson also says Planned Parenthood’s change of protocol doesn’t necessarily make the abortion drug safer for women — and pointed out that one woman died from using the abortion drug orally instead of vaginally.

"There is no proof or evidence in scientific literature of the safety of this new regimen," he says. "Since 2001, there have been eight reported deaths with the use of vaginal misoprostol. However, an 18 year old woman died using the buccal misoprostol administration of the drug."

Although Planned Parenthood changed its protocol on the administration of the abortion drug, it still uses the drug in a smaller dosage than the FDA recommends in order to save money, which upsets the California father.

"The National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood do not use the approved FDA regimen. The FDA does not comment or recommend any other regimen except the one which they have approved," Patterson said.

When women get the abortion drug RU 486, they take two pills. One, mifepristone, essentially deprives the growing unborn child of food and water and the second, misoprostol, causes contractions allowing women to give birth to the dead baby.

In animal and cell culture studies, the University of Michigan researchers found that misoprostol, when given directly in the reproductive tract, suppresses key immune responses and can allow a normally non-threatening bacterium, Clostridium sordellii, to cause deadly infection.

According to post-mortem reports on the women who died from the abortion drug, this vaginal use allowed the bacteria to cause the fatal infections.

Dr. Randy O’Bannon, the director of research for National Right to Life, told previously that earlier studies showed the mifepristone drug also caused problems.

"Authors of this study claim that vaginally administered misoprostol may suppress the body’s immune response, making infection more likely. Earlier studies have suggested that RU 486, or mifepristone, the first drug used in the chemical abortion process, may itself have immunosuppressive qualities," he explained.

O’Bannon said he’s not convinced the University of Michigan study is the final chapter in the story of the women’s abortion drug deaths.

"As long as both of these drugs are being used as abortifacients, it will be important to try and nail down how one or both of these drugs contributed to eight known infection deaths among women whotook the two drug regimen," he said.


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