WASHINGTON (November 15, 2004) — A spokeswoman for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reacted to the announcement today by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") that another U.S. woman has died from the abortion drug RU-486. The FDA also announced changes to RU-486's label, stating that the new label will include information on "the risk of serious bacterial infections, sepsis, and bleeding and death that may occur following any termination of pregnancy, including use of Mifeprex." Mifeprex is the brand name for RU-486. No details about the woman's death were given.
"RU-486 doesn't need a better label, it needs to be shelved," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq. "Young women depend upon the safety of FDA-approved drugs. How many have to die before this killer drug is taken off the market?"
The drug was reportedly under investigation by the FDA since the death last year of teenager Holly Patterson who had obtained the drug from a Planned Parenthood clinic in California. According to an Alameda County coroner's report, Holly died from septic shock caused by the drug-induced abortion. Holly's father told reporters: "There's no quick fix for pregnancy, no magic pill…They told her it was safe, and it killed her." (Brewer, "Family Blames RU-486 in Woman's Death," Contra Costa Times, Sept. 20, 2003.) The drug has also been implicated in the death of another American woman, Brenda Vise.
RU-486 drug trials in Canada were suspended in 2001 following the death of a woman from septic shock. (S. Schmidt, "Woman's death sparks abortion pill debate," National Post, Sept. 17, 2001.) According to the FDA, trials in the U.S. excluded women under the age of 18 due to possible health risks.
Last year U.S. Representative Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced "Holly's Law" to suspend approval of RU-486 pending an investigation of its safety. Holly's Law has not been voted on, and the FDA has not suspended approval of the drug during its investigation.
"RU-486 was the new 'magic pill' to make babies disappear, and young women are now its latest victims," Ruse said. "RU-486 must be stopped."