Aug. 13, 2010
On July 31st, the New York Times published an article on RU-486, the abortion drug, by Nicholas Kristoff. Earlier this week my colleague, Chris Gacek, posted an excellent blog refuting many of the erroneous claims made by Kristoff. In an attempt to properly educate the public on the dangers of the drug, FRC submitted a letter to the editor to the NYT on August 2nd, but to date it hasn't been published. Below is the letter that was submitted.
Nicholas Kristof's July 31st column on the abortion drug RU-486 does not acknowledge the facts behind the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of RU-486 and its serious health implications.
In 2000 the FDA approved RU-486 as the first-and only-abortion pill in the U.S. Because it suppresses a woman's immune system, making her more prone to infection and bleeding, only doctors trained in blood transfusions and located within close proximity to a hospital could distribute it.
By the spring of 2006 the FDA acknowledged six deaths, nine life-threatening incidents, 232 hospitalizations, 116 cases involving the need for blood transfusions, and 88 cases of infections, with a total of 1,070 adverse events reports.
Kristoff writes that the drug is "revolutionizing abortion around the world, especially in poor countries." But given results in the medically sophisticated U.S., shipping this to developing countries would be a recipe for disaster.
(1) Letter from David W. Boyer, Assistant Commissioner for Legislation, Food and Drug Administration, to Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources (May 2, 2006) (on file with Subcommittee).