NRL News

Pro-abortionists try to ease the way for introduction of RU-486 into Canada

by | Nov 26, 2013


By Dave Andrusko

RU486book9reTwo pro-abortionists have published an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, arguing that Canadian women are not receiving the “best abortion option” for non-surgical abortions —RU-486.

Dr. Sheila Dunn and attorney Rebecca Cook “say Health Canada is currently studying an application to bring that option, a drug commonly known as RU-486, to the Canadian market,” according to Helen Branswell, writing in The Globe and Mail newspaper.

“We don’t ever know the reasons that people have for not bringing drugs into different countries,” Dunn told Branswell. “Some of them will be economic. And sometimes if it’s going to be really onerous to actually get drug approval and the economic margins are not going to be such that makes it worthwhile for someone to do that, that may be a deterrent.”

How are non-surgical abortions in Canada currently performed? According to Dunn, by use of the drug methotrexate, which she described to Branswell as “second rate.” (It’s traditionally used as a drug to fight cancer.)

But “second rate” hardly captures what Dunn then explained are methotrexate’s dangers.

“Methotrexate is prescribed off-label for abortions, meaning it is not intended for that purpose, Dunn said. Additionally, it must be administered by injection, takes longer to work than mifepristone, and is less reliable. Methotrexate can also cause serious birth defects if the abortion is unsuccessful, so women must be tracked and monitored by health professionals.”

All that is true, and more! But Dunn and Cook manage to miss everything that is wrong about RU-486, which is actually an extremely powerful two-drug combination: mifepristone, which kills the baby, and misoprostol, a prostaglandin that induces contractions to expel the dead baby.

For over twenty years National Right to Life has followed the history of RU-486’s securing approval in the United States and what has happened since. Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s Director of Education, is an expert.

Just last week he wrote a brilliant post, based on a new edition of a strong pro-abortion critique of RU-486 (“RU-486 Now Safe? Feminist researcher who opposed abortion pill in 1991 book still doesn’t think so,”

Far from taking anything back, writing in a ninety-page preface to a new edition of “RU486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” published earlier this year, Renate Klein is as convinced as ever that after seeing twenty plus years of RU-486 on the market “a down-to-earth rational best practice approach that truly respects women’s health and well being could not, in good faith, endorse this fraught abortion method.”

Indeed, speaking of “second rate,” Klein repeats here what she has published elsewhere–that she sees a ”RU 486/PG abortion as an unsafe, second-rate abortion method with significant problems”

Here are just a few of the dangers of this potent drug combination:

  • The troubling tendency among researchers to catalogue a long list of serious “adverse reactions” (complications) and then go on nonetheless to declare the two-drug combination “safe and effective,” against their own evidence. As Dr. O’Bannon wrote, “One researcher Klein cites is Régine Sitruk-Ware. In a 2006 review of large postmarketing studies in the U.S. and France, Sitruk-Ware found 10% of women suffering from excessive bleeding, 1.4% requiring curettage to control bleeding, and 0.25% requiring blood transfusions. Though Klein says these sound like low percentages and cites another study that makes these look like underestimates, she points out that for the 1.5 million said to have undergone such abortions in the U.S., this would mean 150,000 women experiencing excessive bleeding, 21,000 requiring curettage, and 3,750 needing transfusions. These are hardly inconsequential numbers.”
  • In her updated book, Klein shares data from the April 30, 2011, “Postmarketing Events Summary” put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That summary reported 2,207 adverse events, 14 U.S. deaths, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 256 infections, and 339 women requiring transfusions. Klein notes that only 1% to 10% of complications are typically reported to the FDA, meaning the numbers could be 10 or even 100 times higher.” And remember that this was as of early 2011! Klein says that because RU-486 increases women’s susceptibility to infection, “this means that RU-486 is a drug unsuited for abortion purposes.”
  • Abortion practitioners have aggressively pushed to have the woman take the prostaglandin at home. To Klein, the idea that a woman could simply take powerful medications, go home, and call the doctor if she started having problems was not just “nonsensical,” but dangerous. If something goes wrong during the surgical abortion and a woman begins to hemorrhage, she is already there at the clinic and can immediately receive medical treatment. However if she begins to hemorrhage at home, even if she recognizes it as such, she may be miles from any care [and maybe hundreds of miles if she gets her abortion pills via webcam].

“Even if she does go to an emergency room, because the symptoms of an afebrile infection (one occurring without the usual fever) or a ruptured ectopic pregnancy are quite similar to the ordinary pain, cramping, and bleeding of a chemical abortion, even a doctor could miss them,” Dr. O’Bannon writes. “Given that similarity, the doctor could examine her, prescribe some additional pain pills, and send her home, just like he did Holly Patterson, failing to treat her infection until it was too late.”

These are just a handful of reasons why chemical abortions are dangerous in their own right and even more so if employed as part of a “webcam” abortion where the abortionist is NEVER in the same room as the pregnant woman.

Two other quick but important points. First, Dunn and Cook promote the ridiculously misleading description of an RU-486 abortion as one that “essentially induces a miscarriage.” It’s an abortion, pure and simple, but one that is not only dangerous but can be unbelievably painful (see “Two stories from New York Magazine unintentionally reinforce the pro-life case against abortion”).

Second, a two-sentence aside in Branswell’s story: “There were clinical trials of the drug in Canada early in the last decade. But one was stopped after a woman who received the drug died of a bacterial infection.”

Yes, exactly!

We can only hope that Canada is wiser than we were and keeps RU-486 out of our neighbor to the North.

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Categories: RU486