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Religious Tolerance logo


 

Basic facts about pregnancy & abortion

Events involving the RU-486
abortion pill
from 2001 to 2003,
mostly in the U.S.:


Sponsored link.


This article is a continuation of the same topic from the years 1999 and 2000


Quotation:

  • "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.

  • "Today, members seek to restrict use of mifepristone. Tomorrow, it will be the birth control pill. Enough is enough.'' Jatrice Martel-Gaiter, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington

Developments during 2001:

  • 2001-JAN-19: USA: RU-486 may be withdrawn: Tommy Thompson said that if he is affirmed as Health and Human Services Secretary, that he will review the 2000-SEP decision by the FDA to permit the sale of RU-486. He cited safety concerns. Later, he did attain the government post, but apparently did not restrict RU-486

  • 2001-FEB-6: USA: New legislation to further restrict RU-486: Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) and Representative David Vitter (R-LA) introduced bills which would require physicians to meet new standards before they would be allowed to prescribe RU-486. They would have to be legally authorized to perform surgical abortions and handle any complications. They would also have to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Under existing regulations, they only had to have a linkage to a physician who could perform abortions.

    Vicki Saporta, executive director of the National Abortion Federation commented: "Claims that this legislation is motivated by a concern for women's health are at best disingenuous, and at worst dishonest."

    Jatrice Martel-Gaiter, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington said: "Today members seek to restrict use of mifepristone. Tomorrow it will be the birth control pill. Enough is enough.''

  • 2001-JUL-12: USA: RU486 lawsuits encouraged: CovenantNews.com encouraged women to sue if they feel that they have  "suffered physical injury or emotional harm from the use of the drug mifepristone." They recommend that women contact the American Rights Coalition, Legal Action for Women, or Life Dynamics, Inc.

  • 2001-AUG-10: USA: Ohio Rep. wants to make RU-486 more difficult to get: Representative Tom Brinkman (R-OH) planned to introduce a bill to require women to first get the approval of a psychiatrist before receiving RU-486. He called RU-486 treatment "a traumatic experience,'' that necessitates prior approval by a mental health professional.

    Elizabeth Cavendish, legal director for the National Abortion Rights Action League states that the bill "seems very condescending to women and women's decision-making...it assumes the existence of post-abortion trauma syndrome that doesn't actually exist...Medical literature shows that women who were depressed following an abortion probably were depressed before the abortion.''


  • 2001-SEP-24: USA: Over 5,000 women had received RU-486 from Planned Parenthood: One year after RU-486 was approved for use in the U.S., and nine months after it first became available, Planned Parenthood announced that over 5,000 American women have used this method of abortion. They report that the medication worked in more than 99% of the cases.

    Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) said: "We are particularly pleased by the high levels of success and satisfaction among patients and providers. Reports from across the country have been very positive and reinforce our commitment to bring this new option to more women."

  • 2001-SEP-28: USA: RU-486 has not made abortions more common: A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 6% of gynecologists and 1% of GPs have prescribed the drug to date. An additional 16% of gynecologists and 7% percent of GPs said they were likely to prescribe it during the next year.

    Response to RU-486 in Iowa has been mixed:
    • Kim Gordon, spokesperson of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, believes that few women have used it because they have heard that the medication can cause deadly complications. She said: "If the doctors are not prescribing it, they must be aware of the dangers." She expects that RU-486 will eventually be banned. She said: "I don't think Americans are going to tolerate women dropping off like flies."

    • Penny Dickey, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa said that they have not heard of any severe complications in the state. In a few cases, women had to have a follow-up surgical abortion, either to stop excessive bleeding or because RU-496 did not work as expected. She said that about 9% of the 1,840 women who had abortions in Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa in the first half of 2001 chose RU-486. She felt that the medication did not increase the total number of abortions.

Developments during 2002:

  • 2002-JAN-15: Lawsuit against National Abortion Federation dropped: A group of plaintiffs, described as "some everyday folk," by the Evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family, had initiated a lawsuit against the National Abortion Federation. The plaintiffs claimed that the Federation had violated the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act in Illinois when they took out ads in women's magazines which stated that RU-486 was safe. Carrie Gordon Earll, bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family, said that the pill's producer continues to lie: "...women are being sold RU-486 as being safe." Focus on the Family correspondent Charles R. MiVille wrote: "The truth is, RU-486 is potentially very dangerous for the mother, and is always deadly for the unborn child. Side effects include possible bleeding, nausea and painful cramps."

  • 2002-AUG-21: Petition to stop sales of RU-486: Three pro-life groups, Concerned Women for America, the Christian Medical Association, and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to order RU-486 be taken off the market immediately. They say that the pill is jeopardizing women's lives. They seem to have based their conclusions on an earlier Food and Drug Administration report. The groups cited the deaths of two women, and four women who experienced of serious side effectafter taking the pill.

Developments during 2003 in the U.S.:

bullet 2003-JAN-15: RU-486 and similar pills used in about 6% of all abortions in the United States: The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates that during the first six months of 2001, more than 37,000 non-surgical abortions were performed using RU-486 and similar medication. This represents approximately six percent of all abortions performed in the country.

bullet

2003-FEB-20: An anti RU-486 bill was introduced into the U.S. House: Congressman David Vitter (R-LA) has introduced a bill in the house that would restrict the use of RU-486. Most pro-life activity had been directed towards a total ban on the use of RU-488. However Vitter has taken an alternative approach: restricting the number of doctors who would be able to administer the drug. Available data shows that RU-486 is 35 times safer to the woman than continuing a pregnancy and giving birth.

Of course, that statement only considers the pregnant woman; the embryo dies.


bullet 2003-JUL-21: Conflict over cheaper medication: Americans generally pay more for their prescription medications than citizens of other countries. In addition, costs of medical care are even more onerous in the U.S. because the country lacks a universal health plan which is found in almost every other developed country. Present legislation prohibits the importation of prescription drugs into the U.S. But some Americans have gone on bus trips to Canada or have used the Internet to obtain low cost medication. A bill was introduced into the House that would legalize the importation of cheap drugs. The pro-life movement appears to be split in its support of the bill. Three groups which oppose abortion access have issued conflicting statements:

bullet The Traditional Values Coalition says that if the bill were passed, RU-486 would become more easily obtained.

bullet The Family Research Council said that "drug re-importation [is a] bad idea, but not a pro-life issue."

bullet In mid-July, the Republican Study Committee wrote in a memorandum "The bill has nothing to do with abortion....In short, it would be as illegal for the average citizen to acquire RU-486 after enactment [of the proposed bill] as it is now."

The statement of the Coalition appears to be a factual error, because other existing legislation allows only hospitals and licensed physicians to acquire and administer RU-486.


bullet

2003-SEP-10: A young woman died after taking RU-486: Holly Patterson, 18, of Livermore, CA, died of complications after taking RU-486. Full details were not available. However, she allegedly experienced bleeding and very severe cramps. She went to a medical center and was only given painkillers. She went to a hospital a few days later and died on SEP-17. Her father speculates that RU-486 induced a partial miscarriage. Fragments of the embryo remained inside her uterus became infected and caused her to go into septic shock.

Her father, Monty Patterson, said,

"I think it's a sad day when a father has to bury his daughter because she suffered in silence. I think it was fear and shame that made her decide she could do this, that she could take a pill and make it all go away. If she could have just talked to us, things would be different."

Her mother, Deborah Patterson, said:

"We hope with Holly's passing that other families can come together and take care of issues. We want to save other girls from the same demise and heartbreak. It was so needless, so needless....We're in this convenient society, this microwave society where things are quick and easy, and they're not. Talk to your parents ... there's nothing so bad that you could turn them away."

A spokesperson for Danco Laboratories, the producer of RU-486 in the U.S. estimated that 200,000 women in the U.S. have used the pill.


bullet

2003-NOV-1: Coroner's report confirms cause of Patterson's death: Holly Patterson was seven weeks pregnant on SEP-10 when she received a prescription for RU-486 from Planned Parenthood of Hayward, CA.  Apparently the embryo was not fully expelled from her body. This caused a massive systemic infection. She died on SEP-17 of septic shock. Frank Gentle, supervising coroner investigator. said that the cause of her death was "septic shock, due to endomyometritis (inflamation), due to therapeutic, drug-induced abortion."

At one death per 200,000 users, taking RU-486 is about 14 times safer than continuing with the pregnancy. Its safety is on a par with abortion via vacuum aspiration.

A bill was introduced to the House of Representatives to suspend sale of RU-486. It did not proceed.


Quotation:

  • "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.

  • "Today members seek to restrict use of mifepristone. Tomorrow it will be the birth control pill. Enough is enough.'' Jatrice Martel-Gaiter, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington

This topic continues in the next article


Site navigation: a href="index.htm">Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Facts > RU-486 > here


Copyright © 2001 to 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2020-AUG-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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Go to the previous page, or return to the menu, or choose:

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Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

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