In This Section:
- What is a Medication Abortion? What is RU 486?
- More Profitable for Planned Parenthood, More Dangerous for Women
- Medication Abortion Deaths in the United States
- History of RU 486
- RU 486 in Iowa
What is a Medication Abortion? What is RU 486?
A medication abortion, also known as a chemical abortion, abortion pill or RU 486, is not a single pill, but a two-step process involving multiple doses of the two drugs. RU 486 is actually the first drug in a medication abortion, but sometimes the term RU 486 is used to refer to the medication abortion.
1) Mifepristone—also known as RU 486 or by its marketing name, “Mifeprex.”
These drugs block the action of progesterone, the natural hormone vital to maintaining the rich nutrient lining of the uterus. The developing baby starves as the nutrient lining disintegrates.
2) Misoprostol—an artificial prostaglandin
These drugs, taken a few days after the mifepristone, initiate uterine contractions and cause the baby to be expelled.
More Profitable for Planned Parenthood; More Dangerous for Women
Planned Parenthood violates FDA protocol on medication abortions by using a cheaper regimen (or combination of mifepristone and misoprostol) not recommended by the FDA. The cheaper regimen is more profitable for Planned Parenthood, but more dangerous for women.
Here is the difference:
FDA Protocol for Medication Abortions:
The FDA approved Mifeprex regimen for a medical abortion through 49 days of pregnancy involves three separate doctor’s office visits:
- Day One: Mifeprex Administration: 3 tablets of 200 mg of Mifeprex orally at once
- Day Three: Misoprostol Administration: 2 tablets of 200 mcg of misoprostol orally at once
- Day Fourteen: Post-Treatment: The patient must return to confirm that a complete termination has occurred. If not, surgical termination is recommended to manage medical abortion treatment failures.
How Planned Parenthood Violates FDA Protocol
- Planned Parenthood uses the Mifeprex regimen on women up to 63 days into a pregnancy, two weeks beyond the FDA recommendation.
- Planned Parenthood cuts the Mifeprex pills from 3 to 1 and ups the misopristol pills (Mifeprex is about $90 a pill and misopristol is about $1 a pill.) Reducing Mifeprex and increasing misopristol increases Planned Parenthood’s profits.
- Planned Parenthood eliminates an office visit, by making the women take the misoprostol at home. Again, less overhead and more profits for Planned Parenthood.
Women Facing their Abortion Alone
Medication abortions are less messy for Planned Parenthood and more traumatizing for women, because the women are forced to deal with the blood and the dead baby at home – alone. Medication abortions take longer and are bloodier than a surgical abortion.
Complications from a Medication Abortion
Deadly complications from medication abortions can be easily overlooked. At least 11 women have died after a medication abortion, including five women in the United States.
The problem with diagnosing serious complications related to medication abortions is that many adverse effects mask themselves as typical side-effects from a medication abortion. Medical professionals should be on the lookout for deadly infections, ruptured ectopic pregnancies or cardiac failure.
Women who have died after a medication/RU-486 abortion died from:
- Clostridium sordelli: a bacterial infection, like toxic shock
- Hemorrhaging to death
- Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
- Massive heart attack
Symptoms to look for:
- Excessive Bleeding
- Chest Pain
- Severe Cramping
- High Fever
The above symptoms might seem typical for a medication abortion. Pelvic exams or ultrasounds results can be inconclusive. Further investigation of these symptoms could save women’s lives.
Medication Abortion / RU 486 Deaths in the United States
Medication abortions are extremely painful and complications include deadly ectopic pregnancies, bacterial infection and excessive bleeding. At least 11 women have died after taking RU 486, including five women in the United States. Here are some of their stories:
Brenda Vise, age 38 – Chattanooga, TN
Died: September 12, 2001
Brenda Vise was a pharmaceutical rep who was given RU 486 at the Volunteer Medical Clinic in Knoxville, TN on September 7, 2001. The workers at the clinic told her the six week-old fetus was too small to see on the ultrasound — they did not recognize that Brenda had an ectopic pregnancy. Brenda called the clinic twice to report complications from the abortion and was told that her symptoms were “normal and routine.” On September 10, Brenda’s boyfriend called an ambulance, which took her to a local hospital. Two days later, she slipped into a coma and died.
Holly Patterson, age 18 – San Francisco, CA
Died: September 17, 2003
Holly Patterson was given RU 486 at Planned Parenthood’s Hayward clinic in San Francisco on September 10, 2003. She later called the Planned Parenthood clinic’s hotline twice after suffering extreme cramping. The first time, she was told to take the prescription pain killer they gave her. The second time, she was instructed to go to an emergency room. A doctor at the local hospital emergency room sent her home with another painkiller.
Hoa Thuy (Vivian) Tran, age 22 – Orange County, CA
Died: December 29, 2003 in Las Vegas
Tran was a wife and had a three year-old child. Tran became ill in a Las Vegas hotel after she was given RU 486 by Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa, CA. She died in a local emergency room.
Chanelle Bryant, age 22, Pasadena, CA
Died: January 14, 2004
Chanelle, a junior in college, studying to be a teacher took RU 486 on January 8, 2004. She went to the emergency room of the local hospital with painful cramping five days later. She was admitted to the hospital and died in the operating room there the following day.
Oriane Shevin, age 34 – Sherman Oaks, CA
Died: June 14, 2005
Oriane was an attorney with two small children. She was given RU 486 and misoprostol at the Eve Surgical Center in West Los Angeles June 9 and 10. Three days later, she was experiencing heavy bleeding and extreme pain. She was taken by ambulance to Encino Tarzana Regional Medical, where she died a day later. At the time Oriane went to the Eve Surgical Center, Dr. Christopher Dotson, one of two doctors associated with the abortion clinic, was on probation for the death of another pregnant patient.
In an editorial published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a professor of obstetrics at Harvard Medical School said the risk of death from medication abortion was some 10 times greater than from surgical termination. (December 1, 2005)
History of RU 486
RU 486 was developed in France by pharmaceutical firm Roussel-UCLAF in the 1980s. Wishing to avoid protests in the United States, Roussel-UCLAF donated its U.S. patent to the “Population Council,” an international non-profit organization that wants to force population control across the globe. The Population Council sponsored the RU 486 clinical trials in the U.S. in 1994-1995.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved RU 486 for distribution in the U.S. in 2000. RU 486 has not been approved for use in Canada, after a 26 year-old Quebec woman died during the clinic trials there in August 2001.
RU 486 is marketed in this country by Danco Laboratories.
RU 486 in Iowa:
During nationwide trials of the French abortion pill, RU 486 in 1995, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa told the press that there had been no complications among the women participating in the trial at Planned Parenthood’s Des Moines clinic. Later reports indicated that at least one woman who had taken the abortion pill at the Des Moines clinic nearly bled to death.
(Source: National Right to Life Committee, www.NRLC.org)
RU 486 Testimonies from Abortive Women in Iowa
Patient #001, a 30-year-old blue-collar worker, Des Moines Planned Parenthood RU 486 trial:
“I was very nauseous in a couple of hours [after taking RU 486]. I threw up constantly for three days. I went to work. Luckily, there’s a restroom in my department. I moved a little slower. Usually, I’m very upbeat, but I wasn’t for those three days. It was like food poisoning. I couldn’t keep anything down.
“I went in on Friday and took the second dose of medication [the prostaglandin Cytotec]. After 15 minutes there was a tiny bit of cramping, but less than menstrual cramps. After two hours the cramps got stronger, and I started using a heating pad on my belly. I went to the restroom. When I started to stand, it was like a faucet turned on. There was a steady stream of blood. I passed a golfball-sized blood clot that scared me. I thought maybe it was the fetus.
“The cramps stayed steady. In the last 15 minutes of my appointment, I was doubled over. The bleeding was very heavy, heavier than a period. My mom drove me home. By this time, I was bleeding severely, and I had diarrhea. It reminded me of the way you bleed after you give birth. Maybe a woman that hasn’t given birth might be a little more distressed.
“I aborted at 6:30 on Friday night. I heard it fall into the toilet. It looked like a blood clot. I cried when I knew it had passed – partly from relief, partly from sadness. I knew it was over.”
Source: Andrea Sachs, Abortion Pills on Trial,” TIME (Dec. 5, 1994), p. 45.
“Angie,” unmarried 20-year-old with two children, Des Moines Planned Parenthood RU 486 trial:
“I started to bleed like menstruation. But nothing really happened until the next day. I was having deep cramping when I went to the bathroom, and it was like turning a water jug upside down. I looked at the fetus and was disgusted. I flushed before I got sick to my stomach.”
Source: Andrea Sachs, “Abortion Pills on Trial,” TIME (Dec. 5, 1994). P. 46.
“Marilyn,” unmarried 20 year old, had surgical abortion in October and RU 486 abortion in December in the Des Moines, IA Planned Parenthood trial:
“Marilyn is most bothered by the explicit nature of a medical [chemical] abortion.
“The second time, I saw a lot more – I didn’t like that,’ she says. “I passed (the fetus) during the second visit and I knew when it happened. When I went through the surgical process, it was over and done in one visit and you don’t see anything. The second time [with RU 486], the process takes three days and you’re always thinking about it. Emotionally, it was a lot harder.
“‘During the entire time, all these thoughts go through your head and it’s much more difficult to deal with.’
“Taking the pills, says Marilyn, was more intrusive and graphic than a surgical abortion. If she were to get pregnant again, she would choose the surgical process.”
Source: “The Morning After Pill,” Cityview (Des Moines, IA) (March 22, 1995), p. 7 Comments by Abortionists and Abortion Advocates.