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Attempt to Demystify Abortion Muddles RU-486 Facts

Angie Jackson received national attention for live-tweeting her chemical abortion.  Her aim was to “demystify” abortion and let women know it was “not that bad.”  What she achieved, however, was a muddling of the truth about the abortion drug RU-486 (also known as mifepristone, or by its brand name, Mifeprex).

Angie’s messages claim the side-effects of the abortion drug are exaggerated. However, 99 percent of women in the U.S. clinical trial of the drug experienced at least one adverse effect from the drug, 23 percent of which were severe.

Women who take RU-486 report “significantly longer bleeding” and “significantly higher levels” of pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea than women who have surgical abortions. In addition, the long term effects of RU-486 on women, such as on fertility and future pregnancy, are not known.  And an improper regimen of RU-486, as pushed by Planned Parenthood, has proven fatal for women, including four women who died in one week alone after a California Planned Parenthood facility provided them with RU-486.

FDA approval of RU-486 should not be confused with its “safety.” The abortion drug was approved through the FDA’s “Accelerated Approval Regulations.”  These regulations were designed for drugs “that have been studied for their safety and effectiveness in treating serious or life threatening illnesses and that provide meaningful therapeutic benefit to patients over existing treatment.”

Yet, RU-486 was not adequately tested for its safety and effectiveness and it does not provide any meaningful therapeutic benefit over surgical abortions already available.  In one study, RU-486 failed in 18.3 percent of patients, while surgical abortions failed in only 4.7 percent of patients. (Taken alone, RU-486 fails in one-third of cases, so the regime includes a second drug – a prostaglandin – that must also be taken.) Moreover, pregnancy is not a serious or life-threatening illness.

RU-486 should not have been approved under this accelerated procedure.

While Angie may have lacked the agenda-motivation of abortion advocacy groups who claim RU-486 is “safe” and “easy,” her appeal to anecdotal experience and emotion instead of the facts is just as dangerous.

Instead of having RU-486 pushed as “legal and easy,” women deserve exposure of the risks the abortion drug poses to their health, and to know how it was wrongly fast-tracked for approval.  Women deserve a real “demystification” of abortion.