Abortion Drug Has Killed 29 Women, European Maker Tells Italy’s Government

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 31
, 2009

Rome, Italy (LifeNews.com) — The world may never know how many thousands of women have been injured, or even killed, by the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. The best worldwide guess is that 13 women have been killed as a result of the mifepristone abortion pill, but the maker of the drug in Europe is saying 29 women have died.

If the information given to the Italian Pharmaceuticals Agency (AIFA) by European abortion drug maker Exelgyn is correct, then twice as many women have died from the abortion drug globally than the pro-life community has thought.

Currently, eight women have died from using the RU 486 abortion drug in the United States, two in England, and one each in Canada, Sweden and France.

But, according to a report by the Italian news agency ASCA, Exelgyn provided the figure of 29 women dying from the abortion pill to the Italy Ministry of Health, which, in turn, gave the information to the AIFA drug regulatory agency.

Meanwhile, Eugenia Roccella, the subsecretary of the Italian health office, also reportedly confirmed the figure she received from Exelgyn to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

AIFA is the agency that announced this week that the abortion drug, marketed in Italy as Mifegyne, will now be available for purchase across Italy, after years of the European nation only allowing surgical abortions.

Dr. Randy O’Bannon, the director of research for the National Right to Life Committee and one of the American authorities on the abortion drug, told LifeNews.com that he can’t confirm the Exelgyn figure of 29 deaths.

“It has always been difficult to get complete information on the deaths and injuries associated with the RU-486 method,” he said Friday.

Typically, a death from the mifepristone abortion pill doesn’t become public information “unless someone knows that a woman has had a chemical abortion and recognizes that her complications are related to that event” or “unless someone reports that to the distributor or manufacturer.”

Abortion deaths may also become known if someone submits a report to a governmental agency or “someone goes to the press or the press uncovers and publicizes those incidents,” O’Bannon says.

If none of those actions occur, “then no one knows and the industry goes on promoting the myth of these drugs’ safety and more women’s lives are put at risk.”

“We can only wonder how high the number would be if we had all the information,” O’Bannon said.

Tracking the FDA’s Approval of Plan B: 10 Years of Endangering Women’s Health

by Mailee R. Smith, Staff Counsel, Americans United for Life   
mailee2009-2.jpgThis year marks the tenth “anniversary” of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the “emergency contraceptive,” Plan B.  A decade later, Plan B is not only just as unsafe, but now the drug manufacturer is targeting our children.

The FDA first caved to abortion advocates’ demands in 1999 when it approved the prescription status of Plan B.  While touted as a drug to prevent pregnancy, the drug manufacturer does not hide the fact that it will prevent the implantation of an embryo.But as we have come to expect, the availability of Plan B through prescription was not enough for abortion advocates.  So in 2001, a group of organizations petitioned the FDA to make Plan B available over the counter.  A lawsuit was also initiated in a federal court in New York.  While at first the FDA denied the request, it caved once again in 2006 when it approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B to women 18 years of age and over.

Not surprisingly, this was not enough for abortion advocates, either.  They complained that the health of minors was at stake because minors did not get unfettered access to Plan B.  Of course, men who impregnate minors can buy Plan B and give it to minors, but this is largely ignored by the abortion advocates.  Maybe because they are too busy trying to hide the abortions of minors whose adult perpetrators were not “smart enough” to buy Plan B in time.

So abortion advocates reframed their lawsuit in New York, suing the government because Plan B is not available to children under 18 years of age.  On March 23, 2009, a federal district court in New York ruled that Plan B must be made available to 17-year-old minors and directed the FDA to reconsider its policies regarding minors’ access.  The Obama administration did not appeal and the FDA intends to comply with the ruling.

In June of this year, the FDA approved the first generic version of Plan B.  After all, isn’t it the goal of abortion advocates—ahem, like Justice Ginsberg—to make sure poor women and women in minorities don’t reproduce? 

In July, the FDA followed up by approving “Plan B One-Step.”  While Plan B in its original form required the ingestion of two pills, Plan B One-Step merely requires the ingestion of one pill.  In other words, the FDA has approved a pill that is even stronger than original Plan B—which is also available to anyone 17 years of age and over.

And the question still remains: If Plan B is stronger than regular birth control, and regular birth control is too strong to allow women (let alone minors) access without prescription… just why is it safe to allow unregulated access to Plan B?

The answer: It’s not.

Not only are the higher amounts of hormones found in Plan B (as compared to regular birth control) unsafe for over-the-counter status, but over-the-counter access has made Plan B available to a broader range of women than it was even tested upon.  The maker of Plan B has not researched what happens when adolescents take Plan B.  In addition, the maximum safe dose for levornorgestrel, the active ingredient in Plan B, and the effects of overdose have not been determined by scientific study on any age group.  And without physician oversight, women with health conditions that are at risk for serious complications following use of Plan B will have no guidance in taking the drug.  They won’t even know they shouldn’t use it.

Moreover, Plan B is used to exploit women.  A study done in Thailand, where emergency contraception has been available without prescription for almost 20 years, had the following comments: “Although many feminists believe that the morning-after pill gives them more control over their own bodies, it would seem, judging from the few studies conducted so far, that it is actually being used by men to exploit women.”  Indeed, studies revealed that men were the most frequent buyers.  Many women did not even know what they were taking; they were simply told by their partners that the pill was a health supplement.  In addition, easy access to an easily-administered drug encourages the continued exploitation of women by sexual predators.

Further, broad availability of Plan B has not reduced the number of abortions, but has led to higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases.  For example, once emergency contraception became available without prescription in the United Kingdom, use among teenage girls doubled from 1 in 12 to 1 in 5.  In fact, one study reported that 4 out of 12 women were influenced to have unprotected sex because of the easy access to emergency contraception.  In those areas with easy access to emergency contraception, the number of sexually transmitted diseases has skyrocketed.

It’s too bad that the drug manufacturer and abortion advocates didn’t spend the last 10 years investigating the safety concerns of Plan B. 

But their efforts did make one thing clear:  Their alleged concern for women and minors is mere rhetoric.  It’s really about the money.

Sponsored by Americans United for Life