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April 26, 2002
Deaths Due to RU-486 Should Prompt FDA Review 
Secretary Thompson Now Has Proof of Serious and Deadly Side-Effects 
The July, 2001 issue of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition Newsletter trumpeted their successful meeting, held the previous Spring, with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson who, they said, told them that his department would not take any steps to "remove the medical abortion drug mifepristone, commonly known as RU-486, from the market." The newsletter further reported that Thompson said, "the FDA would not review its previous approval of the drug.

They considered Mr. Thompson’s remarks an improvement over his previous statements in which he said the FDA probably lacked legal authority to review the drug unless there were reports of death or serious illness directly associated with its use.

RU-486, combined with the drug misoprostol, causes a chemical abortion to occur. RU-486 is a baby poison. But, after years of sustained opposition by pro-life forces, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for use in the United States during the Clinton Administration, despite evidence of serious health consequences to women who used it in other countries.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Reproductive Health Report, February 12, 2001 said this about the Bush Administration’s approach to RU-486: "Despite HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson’s pledge to review concerns related to mifepristone, antiabortion forces ‘still face tough odds’ in their battle against the drug," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The Bush administration, though ‘sympathetic’ towards abortion-rights opponents [that means us], cannot order mifepristone to be pulled from the market unless the drug is proven to be unsafe or ineffective, according to federal rules."

The Journal predicts that "Bush will face ‘political problems’ over the mifepristone battle, as it pits two of his ‘constituencies against each other: the anti-abortion movement [that’s us] and the pharmaceutical industry."

Joyce Howard Price reported in The Washington Times (4/19/02) that the deaths of two women after taking the abortion pill, RU-486, has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Danco Laboratories, the New York firm that makes the pill, to issue warning letters to physicians. The warnings revealed that six women became seriously ill after taking RU-486, or mifepristone, and another drug, misoprostol, to end pregnancies, and two of them died. Three of the women suffered bleeding caused by a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, one of whom died from a hemorrhage, two others suffered sever systemic bacterial infections and one of them died. A sixth woman had a heart attack three days after using the two-drug regimen but later recovered.

Concerned Women for America Senior Policy Director Wendy Wright issued a statement blaming the abortion pill for the deaths and illnesses. "The FDA approved RU-486 under intense political pressure, and now women are suffering the consequences. RU-486 has only one purpose: to kill a human being. Now the evidence is in that women are also victims."

The evidence is in. It is time to review the FDA’s approval of RU-486, and we urge Secretary Thompson to commence the review right away.

Republican National
Coalition for Life

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