Two Deaths of RU-486
Users Reported Abortion Pills Linked to Five other Deaths Planned
Parent Hood Changes Policy
March 18th 2006
Questions are being raised about the safety of the abortion drug RU486 (mifepristone),
after two deaths were reported. It is not clear what caused these
latest deaths, but four of the five earlier deaths were the result of a
rare bacterial infection called Clostridium sordellii, which can cause
septic shock. This brings the total reported deaths associated with the
RU-486 to seven, out 560,000 successful abortions.
In the four previous deaths, the second drug in the two-pill regimen was
administered vaginally rather than orally. A spokeswoman for the FDA
said All four cases were women who had received this treatment
vaginally, who then all quickly reported back to their physician with
very serious, rapidly spreading infection which led to sepsis and death,
unfortunately." According to Julie Rovner of NPR, the spokespeople for
the FDA are not being identified by name because of personal-safety
reasons due to previous threats to FDA staff.
Last fall the FDA reminded doctors that the pill was to be administered
orally. According to the FDA the second drug, misoprostol, was not
formally approved for vaginal use.
Vanessa Cullins, M.D. said there was good reason for the vaginal use
that its clinics had been recommending. She says the vaginal route has
fewer side effects and enables women to have medical abortions up to 63
days. The oral route is only approved for up to 49 days. Cullins is
Vice President for Medical Affairs for the Planned Parenthood Federation
On Friday Planned Parenthood made some changes. Planned Parenthood will
continue to offer abortions, but now the misoprostol will be
administered orally. Cullins said We're making this change because
we're being very cautious. The health and safety of our patients is
Planned Parenthood's top priority."
According to Cullins, medical abortion is much safer than carrying a
pregnancy to term. But according to Rovner, abortion opponents
disagree. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) says the deaths for RU-486 are being
underreported. He says It's being listed as sepsis, or some other
infection. In the case of California, we might not have caught that if
the coroners were not on the ball about the very serious problems of
RU-486, which is just another baby pesticide that's being used.
Sabin Russell, San Francisco Chronicle Medical Writer, says the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is convening a meeting in May
to consider recent outbreaks of rare bacterial illnesses, including
Clostridium sordellii, among abortion pill patients. Russell says, in
Europe, doctors use three times the dosage of mifepristone routinely
prescribed in the United States, but there are no comparable infection
problems reported there.
By Dan Wilson
Books on Pregnancy
Keywords and misspellings: priatal prenatal pre-natal