A summary of adverse event reports (AERS) recently released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and obtained through Sen. Orrin Hatch's office reveal that in the span of almost eleven years since the approval of the abortion drug, popularly known as RU-486, in the United States, at least 11 women have died as a result of complications related to taking the drug.[1] Internationally, the number of women who have died as a result of RU-486 is at least 17.[2]

Thats not all. The dangerous complications associated with this drug continue include hemorrhaging and infection. In the U.S., at least 612 women have been hospitalized after taking RU-486; and at least 339 women required blood transfusions as a result of serious blood loss after taking the abortion drug.

Clearly highlighting the need for more stringent medical oversight, the report also indicates that 58 women were prescribed RU-486 despite having ectopic pregnancies. Yet, [a]dministration of mifepristone and misoprostol is contraindicated in patients with confirmed or suspected ectopic pregnancy.[3] To state it more clearly, a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy and takes the RU486 regimen places her life in danger.

It is not only women in the U.S. who are suffering as a result of chemical abortion, it is a worldwide trend. A recent Australian health department audit of nearly 10,000 abortions performed in 2009 and 2010 compared the safety of RU-486 with surgical abortion, with the outcome being in the words of one major media outlet The Abortion Pill Less Safe than Surgery. The Australian report showed that 1 in 18 patients who used RU-486 had to be re-admitted to hospitals (a total of 5.7% of women vs. only .4% of surgical abortions.) The same study revealed that as many as 33% of women who had second trimester RU-486 abortions required some form of surgical intervention.[4]

Marketing the abortion drug as simple and painless, such as taking an aspirin, is dangerously misleading to women. RU-486 is in a class of drugs categorized as selective progesterone receptor modulators, which, in addition to blocking progesterone necessary for the developing baby, also suppresses a womans immune system. Additionally, it is sometimes the case that the remains of the pregnancy are not entirely expelled from a womans uterus, causing infection and other problems.

Despite the seriousness and intensity of adverse effects related to RU-486, use of this form of abortion is on the rise, and frequently the regimen is dispensed with less medical oversight than surgical abortion. Even more troubling, nationally and internationally, telemed dissemination of RU-486 is increasing.[5] Telemed abortions involved doctors proscribing RU-486 through skype or over the internet rather than during a patient visit.

The bottom line is that abortion drugs are not about improving womens health but are more accurately about advancing a radical pro-abortion agenda regardless of the impact on womens health, even when it proves deadly.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jamie Walker, Abortion pill 'less safe than surgery', The Australian (May 7, 2011) (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abortion-pill-less-safe-than-surgery/story-fn59niix-1226051434394).

[4] EA Mulligan, Mifepristone in South Australia Australian Family Physician Vol. 40, No. 5, May 2011 (http://www.frcblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Australian-AERs_RU486_201105mulligan.pdf).

[5] Michel Martin (host), Growing Controversy Surrounds 'Telemed' Abortions, National Public Radio (January 24, 2011) (http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133182875/Growing-Controversy-Surrounds-Telemed-Abortions).