About the RU-486 abortion pill in the U.S. and the rest of the
world, during years 1999 & 2000:
"If you outlawed RU-486 today and took it off the market, it would be
a great thing but I'm not certain that it would stop one abortion," Mark Crutcher, of Life Dynamics.
Developments during 1999:
1999-JUL-7, Europe: The German government ended the ban on the
sale of RU-486 in that country. Under European Union regulations, they would
have had to present reasons to maintain the ban. They could find none. This
action was an election promise of the then current government which replaced the Christian Democrat party in 1998-SEP.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Joachim
Meisner of Cologne said that the decision was illegal. He called RU-486 a
"murder pill." 1 Robert
Sassone, director of the World Life League commented: "Those
who kill via RU-486 treat humans not yet born as non-persons. The
chemical means of killing these babies is disquietingly similar to the
mode of killing with the gases used by the Nazis."
other European countries also legalized RU-486 during that year.
1999-AUG-25: Switzerland: A pro-life group in Switzerland, Swiss Aid for
Mother and Child (ASME) appealed to a Swiss court to overrule the
decision of the Inter-Cantonal Office for Control of Medicines (OICM),
and prevent the introduction of RU-486 to that country. The group did not succeed.
Developments during the year 2000:
2000-FEB-14: USA Pro-life activity:Focus on the Family, a Evangelical
Christian organization, predicted that RU-486 would be available by
prescription as early as 2000-APR. They were concerned that many
physicians who had not done surgical abortions in the past will now
prescribe RU-486. "Focus" reported that:
the FDA finalizes protocols for dispensing the drug, pro-life
advocates are appealing to public outrage and for prompt recall by
2000-APR-2: USA Poll: The Gallup Organization completed a public
opinion survey on RU-486. The question was: "Would you,
personally, favor or oppose making RU-486 -- an abortion pill --
available in the United States as a prescription drug?" The
result was: 39% favored the availability of the pill; 47% were
opposed. This was a reduction in support since their 1996-JUL survey,
when the results were 43% favor and 44% opposed. The same question was
asked both times. 3
2000-JUN-12: USA: RU-486 regulations: According to Family News in Focus, and
EWTN News, the Food
Administration considered regulations that would
prescribing RU-486 to:
Be part of a national registry.
Be trained in providing
Have admitting privileges at a hospital within
a one-hour trip of their offices.
Perform follow-up studies on their patients. 4
2000-JUN-27: Canada: Clinical trials of RU-486 began on
JUN-27 in Vancouver, and were scheduled to begin about JUL-10 in Toronto. Trials
were also planned for two other provinces. Possibly in reaction to
these trials, Dr. Garson Romalis was stabbed in the back near his
office on JUL-11. He is the same abortion provider who survived an
assassination attempt in 1994 when an anti-abortion terrorist shot him
in the leg. This time, Dr. Romalis' injuries were not life threatening.
A spokesperson from the B.C. Pro-life Society disassociated her
organization from the violence. A spokesperson for the Pro-Choice
Action Network expressed frustration at the level of violence that
abortion providers must live with. One day later, the physician who is
conducting the RU-486 trials in Vancouver received a death threat.
JUL-13, the Vancouver BC Police received a phone call from a terrorist
allegedly representing the Baby Liberation Army. He warned abortion
providers to watch their back -- an apparent reference to the stabbing
of Dr. Romalis.
2000-JUL-13: USA Congressional action: A bill to prevent the Food and Drug
Administration from developing, testing or approving RU-486 failed
in the House of Representatives by a very close vote of 182 in favor to 187 opposed. The vote may
have been distorted by the absence of about 60 members of congress
whose return to Washington was delayed by storms in the Midwest.
According to its sponsor, Rep. Tom Coburn (OK-R), the bill would:
"limit the expenditure of federal funds by the Food and Drug
Administration in their efforts to approve drugs whose sole purpose is
to terminate life."
Scott Weinberg, spokesperson for the
American Life League commented:
"It was a good amendment, and
it just shows you the state of the nation. We have the FDA involved in
abortion providing. We have the Supreme Court effectively legalizing
infanticide. I mean, for crying out loud, what is going on in
2000-SEP-28: USA: RU-486 approval: FDA gave its approval to RU-486.
It will be called the "Early Option Pill." Distribution
was scheduled to begin by the end of 2000-OCT. Due to concern about anti-abortion
violence, the FDA has increased security in some of its offices. The
names of the medical officers who reviewed the drug were kept
The FDA has passed a number of regulations concerning this drug:
They require that each woman who will be given Mifepristone will
receive a "MedGuide" brochure. It will explain eligibility
requirements, and the probable side effects. It will also stress
that she must make three trips to the doctor during the procedure.
It will only be available from physicians who are trained to
determine the duration of pregnancy accurately, and to detect
ectopic (tubal) pregnancies.
A doctor who prescribes the medication who are qualified to
perform a surgical abortion if needed, or who have made prior
arrangements for a competent surgeon to provide an abortion.
Reactions were not long in coming:
Judie Brown of the American Life League said: "We will
not tolerate the FDA's decision to approve the destruction of
innocent human persons through chemical abortion."
Dr. Stanley Henshaw, a senior fellow at the Alan Guttmacher
Institute, commented: "I think it will be a great benefit
to women." He estimates that the 90% of women who live
outside of major cities and had no close access to abortion
services will [evenually] use this pill.
Dr. Benson Harer, Jr., of the Riverside County Regional Medical Center in
Moreno, CA said: "We're very happy about it. It's probably long
overdue. I think it will greatly expand the ability of women to
have abortions without having to travel great distances." 5
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer said that the approval
is "a payoff by the Clinton administration to the abortion
Ann Stone of Republicans for Choice favored the
ruling; she said: "It's about time. I'm celebrating." 6
NARAL President Kate Michelman said: "Mifepristone's approval
is one of the most significant advances in women's reproductive
health that we have seen in decades. Its approval today is yet
another milestone on the long road to women's reproductive freedom
and equality in this country...The FDA's action today opens doors
long closed to American women, but the benefits of mifepristone
will reach far beyond the realm of reproductive freedom and choice.
The potential mifepristone holds for the treatment and possible
eradication of numerous diseases could mean an end to the
suffering of millions of Americans.. George W. Bush has ... stated
his opposition to mifepristone and has said he would be 'inclined
not to accept' the FDA's ruling if it approved the drug. Al Gore
supports the approval of mifepristone."
2000-OCT-5: Philippines:According to CWNews: The Philippine
Daily Inquirer reported that "Health Secretary Alberto
Romualdez was quoted earlier as saying that RU-486 is not an abortive
drug....He was reported as saying that if the drug's manufacturer
filed for registration with the Bureau of Food and Drugs, the
application would be treated like any other and would not be blocked." Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, spokesperson for the Philippine [Roman
Catholic] Bishops' Conference, noted that anyone taking RU-486 is
automatically excommunicated. "Ipso facto excommunication. It
does not have to be announced anymore. It is automatic."
2000-OCT-9: USA: Federal bill to restrict RU-486: Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced a bill, the "RU-486
Patient Health and Safety Act" which would set into law some
of the FDA's regulations. A similar bill was introduced
into the Senate by Tim Hutchinson (R-AR). The bill appears to be have been based
on some inaccurate beliefs about RU-486: that the second, prostaglandin,
pill is caustic, that it causes serious birth defects, and that the
complication rate of RU-486 is 5%.7
2000-OCT-13: USA: Pro-life groups object to country of origin of
RU-486: According to Catholic World News Briefs on this date, some
U.S. pro-life groups are concerned that Mifeprex will be manufactured
in China. In an apparent reference to China's forced abortion policy,
Judie Brown, president of American Life League commented:
"The Clinton Administration has teamed up with the world's
most infamous baby-killer -- Communist China -- to produce the
abortion chemical, RU-486. No wonder the FDA
tried to keep secret the source of these baby-destroying chemicals."
Author's note: Actually, it was Danco
Laboratories who negotiated the contract with a Chinese pharmaceutical
company. No North American company would agree to manufacture Mifeprex,
fearing terrorist attacks on their facilities by anti-abortion
activists, boycotts of all of their products by pro-life groups, and
2000-NOV-22: USA: RU-486 pills become available: According to
"These abortion-producing pills will be available to women in the U.S.
today. Pro-life Wisconsin is distributing Community Action
Kits. They describe how pro-lifers can find out which physicians
in the community will prescribe RU-486 and which pharmacies will fill
State director Peggy Hamill explained that: "Physicians
who are considering dispensing Mifeprex need to know that if they do,
they will be labeled an abortionist in their community. We truly
believe the reputable doctors will not get involved in this at all,
because they know what it is."
The kit also contains sample
negative letters to the editor and newspaper ads.
2000-DEC-08: USA: College clinics would not distribute RU-486: "Why
Life," the youth division of American Life League, surveyed every college in states along the Eastern Seaboard. They
found that only one will be dispensing RU-486. Most colleges gave two
reasons for this decision: They don't have an obstetrician or
gynecologist on staff. They are not open 24 hours a day, and thus
cannot give continuous care. In addition, they may fear adverse
publicity from pro-life groups. 8