Abortion Drug Kills Girl in Portugal, Caused Deadly Infection

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 16, 2011   |   10:56AM   |   Lisbon, Portugal

The dangerous RU 486 (mifepristone) abortion drug has caused yet another death in Europe by subjecting a 16-year-old girl in Portugal to a deadly infection that claimed her life. The infection is the same as one that took the lives of several women in the United States, who used the abortion pill.

The Portuguese girl in question died after an abortion with the RU 486 abortion drug caused Clostridium sordellii septic shock. Although girls have died in European nations — the United Kingdom, France and Sweden — from using the abortion drug, this represents the first case of the rare but deadly infection claiming the life of someone taking the abortion pill as happened in the United States.

The information about the abortion death came in the abstract of a study accepted for publication and submitted to the recent 21st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) conference held from May 7-10 in Milan, Italy. The dead involved the teenage girl from Portugal using mifepristone and misoprostol to cause an abortion of her unborn child.

Monty Patterson, the father of Holly Patterson, one of a handful of women in the United States to have died after developing the infection following usage of the abortion drug, says the death of the Portuguese girl makes it clear the dangerous nature of the abortion drug is a worldwide problem.

“This may be the first reported global case that needs to be further investigated as part of the ongoing review of C. sordellii medical abortion deaths that includes my daughter, Holly Patterson and others in the United States and Canada,” he told LifeNews.com.

In July 2009, the European maker of the abortion drug told Italian officials that it has killed dozens of women in Europe alone and that the total number of known worldwide deaths from the abortion drug — thought to be about 15 — is much higher. At the time, European abortion drug maker Exelgy told the Italian Pharmaceuticals Agency (AIFA) that 29 women have died from it.

Patterson says the number is likely higher due to underreporting and the deaths of women dying from using the abortion drug being reported as from the infection rather than from usage of the abortion pill itself.

“The relevance of this information suggests that C. sordellii fatal toxic shock after medical abortion must be recognized as a global concern,” he told LifeNews. “I believe many more women may have died due to inadequate diagnosis or delays in treatment as they relate to medical abortion with mifepristone (RU 486) and misoprostol.  Additionally, serious injuries and deaths may have not been internationally reported due to voluntary or poor reporting standards of these events to the proper regulatory authorities that monitor drug related deaths.”

Patterson also says previous research claiming no women in Europe have died from infections brought on by the abortion drug must now be updated.

“Obviously, this statement is no longer true,” the father said. “This is an emerging global problem. It appears there are no clear measures to identify and prevent this infection as it relates to medical abortion. It is time, once again, to seriously question the safety of the combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol frequently used  in the procedure for early pregnancy termination.”

After learning of the young girl’s death, the Italian Ministry of Health Press Office released a statement responding to it and identifying even more women who have died from the abortion drug — saying there are now “a total of 32 confirmed dead after taking of RU 486” and two other women who died from medical abortions with prostaglandins alone.

“A recent Australian study, a few days ago, reported that complications after medical abortion are much more frequent than those due to surgical abortion, according to the results of 7000 with the RU 486 abortions in South Australia, confirming the data already known in the scientific literature,” the Italian government said. “We recommend once again to the industry to follow the ministerial guidelines on abortion drugs, which stipulate that the entire procedure is performed under the hospitalization, the better to safeguard women’s health.”

The Ministry of Health agency indicated it would report the new abortion death to EMEA, the European pharmacovigilance agency, and ask for “an additional charge of investigation and an update on the reports of deaths and complications.” The agency also promised a report on the complications from the abortion drug in Italy following the first year of its officially approved usage.

Since the approval of Mifeprex (Mifepristone, RU486) in September 2000 in the United States, the FDA has been informed of eight deaths due to serious infections following medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol. These women died from sepsis (serious infection involving the bloodstream) and seven women were found to involve infection with bacteria known as Clostridium sordellii and one case involved infection with Clostridium perfringens.

Ultimately, Patterson said more must be done to inform women that they may experience very real medical and physical complications from using the abortion drug, including death.

“As long as mifepristone is allowed to be on the market for early pregnancy termination then women will be subject to the risk of this infection,” he said. “The only preventive measures that may be designed to stop C. sordellii  infection are for women to seek other alternatives and options or decline the administration of these abortion pills from providers. These abortion drugs are unpredictable and the health risks can be fatal.”