Tag archives: RU-486

FRC Releases New Policy Publication on RU-486

by Krystle Gabele

June 5, 2012

My colleague Chris Gacek recently released a new policy publication on the dangerous side effects of RU-486 (also known as Mifepristone). RU-486 is known as the abortion pill, and FRC has worked to analyze the side effects of this drug through reviewing the adverse event reports (AERs). Aside from the loss of the preborn child, there are many medical side effects that impact women.

According to a study on medical abortions safety and effectiveness, Obstetrics & Gynecology noted that:

Overall, medical abortion had roughly four times the rate of adverse events than surgical abortion did: 20.0% of women in the medical-abortion group and 5.6% of women in the surgical-abortion group had at least one type of adverse event. Hemorrhage, as an adverse event, was experienced by 15.6% of medical abortion patients compared with 2.1% for surgical patients. Incomplete abortions were experienced by 6.7% of medical abortion patients while only 1.6% of surgical patients had incomplete abortions. The rate for surgical (re)evacuation of the uterus was 5.9% (medical) versus 1.8% (surgical) for all causes (hemorrhage, infection, incomplete abortion).

RU-486, as well as, surgical abortions are dangerous not only to the child, but to the mother. To learn more about the dangers of RU-486, click here to read more of Chriss analysis.

A New Study Finds Abortion Safer than Giving Birth

by Krystle Gabele

January 24, 2012

As thousands were on the national mall in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, Reuters reported on a study that suggests abortion is safer than giving birth. I find it odd that the release of such a study was timed to coincide with an event that celebrates and vows to protect the sanctity of life.

There are some interesting findings from this study commissioned by the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. One is the fact that the authors of the study, Drs. Elizabeth Raymond and David Grimes, used estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, which is tied to Planned Parenthood. Another finding that was particularly interesting is that they claim abortion is safer due to the amount of deaths that occurred during live childbirth.

There are some medical risks with childbirth, but the effects of abortion are much more dangerous and long-lasting. Jeanne Monahan, Director, Center for Human Dignity at FRC, recently published an editorial that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which focused on abortions devastating impact on mental health. According to Monahan:

In the fall, a meta-analysis was published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry. The report was the most extensive of its kind to date — the author looked at 22 published studies and data from more than 870,000 women. The results showed that women who have an abortion are at an 81 percent increased risk for mental health problems, including anxiety disorders, depression, drug abuse and suicidal behaviors. The study revealed the shocking statistic that close to 10 percent of all mental health problems in women can be directly attributed to abortion.

There are other impacts, as well, that are worth noting. FRC also released a brochure, The Top Ten Myths About Abortion, which provided some insight into the medical complications from abortion. A surgical abortion could impact whether a woman would be able to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy in the future.

Physical complications include cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion. Risks of complications increase with gestational age and are dependent upon the abortion procedure.

Long-term physical consequences of abortion include future preterm birth and placenta previa (improper implantation of the placenta) in future pregnancies. Premature delivery is associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy, as well as respiratory, brain, and bowel abnormalities. Pregnancies complicated by placenta previa result in high rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and perinatal death.

This does not include the physical complications from RU-486, which is prescribed to women who seek a chemical abortion. These include: hemorrhage, infection, and missed ectopic pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration recently reported that in the ten years since RU-486 was approved in the U.S., at least 11 women have died as a result of complications related to taking the drug.

Additionally, 612 women have been hospitalized, and 339 women required blood transfusions as a result of taking RU-486. (Food and Drug Administration, Mifepristone U.S. Postmarketing Adverse Events Summary through 04/30/2011).

Additionally, government compiled statistics from Poland confirm that the number of abortion-related deaths significantly decreased when abortion was essentially outlawed. The fact that this study was released to coincide with the March for Life activities is not surprising, considering that the pro-choice lobby will do anything to ensure that abortion is in the forefront.

In Memory of Holly Patterson

by Family Research Council

September 28, 2011

Holly PattersonToday marks the 11th year anniversary of the approval of RU-486, the one drug legally approved for abortion in the United States.

September also marks another difficult anniversary —- the death of Holly Patterson, who died as a result of RU-486, which is considered “safe” and legal. Holly was a beautiful young woman who graduated from high school a year early. She received the abortion pill from a Planned Parenthood clinic in California at the age of 18 in September, 2003 and died a few days later from complications. Holly would have been 26 this year.

Tragically, Holly is not alone. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of late April, at least 11 women in the U.S. have died as a result of the drug since its approval in September, 2000. Over 2200 adverse events have been filed with the FDA since that time, and 612 women had been hospitalized as a result of this abortion pill. More than 330 women have required a blood transfusion after having a chemical abortion.

Despite all of this, use of chemical abortion is on the rise in the U.S., specifically at Planned Parenthood clinics.

In Holly’s memory, today, her father, Monty Patterson, launched a website dedicated to spreading the truth about the abortion pill.

Please do whatever you can to spread the news about this website to the women in your life —- they need to know this critical information that could one day save their life.

Conscience Rights At Stake as HHS Considers Mandates for Abortifacients in Obamacare

by Family Research Council

July 19, 2011

NPR ran a story today on the Institute of Medicines report to be released tomorrow which will include a list of recommended services to be covered with no cost-sharing under the Obamacare law.

But there are a few key points that NPR did not include. The real issue is not about “birth control” as such but rather about specific contraceptives that can function as abortifacients, in particular, emergency contraceptives. This isnt a matter of opinion or political ideology. The FDA approved label for Plan B suggests it can prevent implantation of an embryo. Moreover, the most recently approved EC, “ella”, is chemically similar to RU-486 and it may destroy an embryo after it is already implanted.

Additionally, this is a question of whether the government should mandate every health plan to cover these drugs free of cost. Whatever one’s position is on the issues of contraceptives, abortifacients, and such, it does not matter whether proponents of such drugs do not care about the effect on human embryos. The point is that many Americans do care, and many religious health plans would care, and that they should not be forced to violate their conscience. Non-discrimination laws are in effect for this very reason. The IOM recommendations will potentially require people who are not in favor of these drugs to cover and participate in something they find objectionable. You don’t have to agree with such objections, but at the same time people should not be forced to violate their consciences.

Here is our letter to HHS with more information.

And here is more information on ella, taken from my public comments at the second IOM meeting on January 12, 2011:

While the FDA approved the drug application of Ella as an emergency contraceptive, this drug is known to be chemically and functionally similar to the abortifacient drug, RU-486. In a study published this month in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, the mechanism of action of ulipristal in human ovarian and endometrial tissue is identical to that of its parent compound, mifepristone.[1]

In one study of ulipristal on monkeys, 4 out of 5 fetuses were aborted.[2] On one with rats, all were aborted.[3] [E]xisting studies in animals are instructive in terms of the potential abortive effects of the drug in humans.[4]

A recent study concluded that it can be reasonably expected that the prescribed dose of 30 mg of ulipristal will have an abortive effect on early pregnancy in humans.[5] This is the dose of ulipristal now available as an EC in the United States.



[1] Harrison, D, Mitroka, J Defining Reality: The Potential Role of Pharmacists in Assessing the Impact of Progesterone Receptor Modulators and Misoprostol in Reproductive Health. Annals of Pharmacotherapy January 2011, Volume 45

[2] European Medicines Agency.CHMP assessment report for EllaOne. (Doc.Ref.: EMEA/261787/2009). London,UK. www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_Public_assessment_report/human/001027/WC500023673.pdf (accessed 2010 Dec 9).

[3] Food and Drug Administration. Mifeprex label. www.accessdata.fda/gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2000/20687lbl.htm (accessed 2010 Sept 26).

[4] Harrison, D and Mitroka, J Defining Reality: The Potential Role of Pharmacists in Assessing the Impact of Progesterone Receptor Modulators and Misoprostol in Reproductive Health. Annal of Pharmacotherapy January 2011, Volume 45

[5] Ibid

RU-486 Safety Data Reported from South Australia

by Chris Gacek

May 9, 2011

A story from Saturdays Australian carried the headline Abortion Pill Less Safe than Surgery and described an audit of nearly 10,000 abortions performed in South Australia in 2009 and 2010 using either RU-486 or surgical abortion. For many years, FRC and the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) have been making the point that chemically-induced abortions are more dangerous than surgical abortions.

Here are some alarming statistics comparing first trimester RU-486 and surgical abortions:

  • 3.3% of the women who used RU-486 in the first trimester of pregnancy reported to an emergency room compared with 2.2% who used a surgical method;
  • 5.7% of the women who used RU-486 had to be re-admitted to hospitals compared with 0.4% of surgical abortion patients. That is 1 in 18 patients.

Here are two statistics relating to second trimester RU-486 abortions:

  • 33% (16/49) who had second trimester RU-486 abortions required some form of surgical intervention;
  • 4% of the second trimester RU-486 abortions had significant haemorrhage; one of the two patients in this category required a transfusion.

For more information, the complete audit may be found here.

Ella vs. RU-486: Similarities and Differences

by Family Research Council

October 5, 2010

Last week, as the abortion industry celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the FDA approval of RU-486, we learned the grim news that two additional women have died from complications related to the abortion drug. In total, since its approval in 2000, 12 women (and approximately a million babies) have died as a result of RU-486 in the U.S.

As we’ve previously reported, ella, which is chemically and functionally similar to RU-486, was approved by the FDA on August 13th. Continuing our series educating health care workers and the general public about ella, in this short youtube clip we again hear from Dr. Donna Harrison, OB-GYN and president of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG).

In this clip Dr. Harrison simply describes the differences and similarities between ella and RU-486. She explains how both drugs block progesterone, alter the placenta and what that means for implanted fetuses.

Response to Sept. 28 USA Today Article on RU-486

by Family Research Council

October 4, 2010

Rita Rubins September 28 column in USA Today on the anniversary of the abortion drug RU-486, 10 Years Later, Abortion Pill Not Used as Often as Expected, lacked essential information about the drugs negative health impacts and risky efforts to expand its use.

Rubin wrote that the expansion of RU-486 has been less extensive than originally anticipated. What she didnt include in the article is that a major limitation on the drugs expansion is that it may only be prescribed by doctors who, according to the FDA, can assure patient access to medical facilities equipped to provide blood transfusion and resuscitation, if necessary. The doctors must also be able to perform surgery in situations where the baby is not fully expelled from the drug. Why?

RU-486 has serious health implications for women. According to the FDA, as late as 2008, over 1,300 adverse events reports had been submitted. Of those reported, negative health complications included 336 hospitalizations, 172 patients requiring blood transfusions, and most gravely, 10 deaths.

Despite these harmful medical outcomes, Planned Parenthood, our countrys largest abortion provider, is currently in the process of expanding access to RU-486 through telemed abortions. Telemed abortions somewhat remove the doctor from the process. The doctor prescribes the chemical abortion pill by closed-circuit TV. This is great for abortion proponents because fewer doctors prescribe a greater number of abortions. But fewer doctors also means less patient oversight, attention and care. Hows that for advancing womens health?

New Piece Comparing RU-486 With Other Drugs

by Family Research Council

September 29, 2010

The Special Treatment of RU-486,” by Nick Frase, compares RU-486, the one FDA-approved drug specifically for the purpose of abortion, with other drugs that have been withdrawn from the U.S. pharmaceutical market. RU-486 has been connected with a multitude of negative side effects, the most serious being death. Yet the drug is still on the market and moreover, is touted as beneficial for women’s health.

In Frase’s words, “Many drugs have been removed from the market for far lesser reasons than the known risks assumed with taking RU-486. This has some health advocates wondering if the drug is not somehow receiving special treatment over and above its track record.”

In 2006 the FDA acknowledged 232 hospitalizations, 116 cases involving blood transfusions, and, most sadly, 8 deaths related to RU-486 in its first six years of FDA approval. In comparison, some of the drugs that have been withdrawn from the pharmaceutical market include Tysabri — used for M.S. and Crohn’s disease — which was connected with 1 death and 1 adverse event; Raplon — a muscle relaxer — which was linked to five deaths; Lotronex — used for Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS) in women — which reportedly received 70 adverse event reports, with 34 hospitalizations and 3 deaths.

Nick surmises that RU-486 has indeed received special treatment. For more information, read the full paper.

Response to New York Times Article on RU-486

by Family Research Council

August 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).

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