United States use of the abortion pill RU486 was approved by the pro-abortion administration of President Bill Clinton. But this action, finalized in 2000, did little more than whet the appetite of the abortion industry, since there were some strings attached.
At the top of the list of items abortionists have worked unceasingly to remove were the commonsensical limitations on its use and the attempt to assure that the two-drug abortion technique is administered in a manner that decreases the chances that there will be complications for the mother. (The first drug kills the baby. The second drug-- typically the prostaglandin misoprostol--stimulates severe uterine contractions to expel the dead or dying baby.)
For example, the abortion industry didn't like that the protocol put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expected the woman to come back for separate visits to take each of the drugs in the chemical cocktail (at least 24-48 hours apart), and which limited the drugs' use to the first 49 days of pregnancy.
But what happens when women do receive both RU486 and the prostaglandin simultaneously? It is "not as effective," according to a study just released by researchers at the Boston Medical Center.
The findings, presented at the 2009 Annual Clinic Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found that women receiving the drugs simultaneously required "surgical interventions" (to deal with bleeding, failed abortion, patient satisfaction) nearly twice as often as those women who observed an interval of at least a day between the administration of the RU486 and the prostaglandin (7.4% vs. 3.9%).
Rates of completed abortion after two weeks were 77% for the group receiving the two drugs simultaneously, and 84% for those taking them separately. Both completion rates are considerably lower than the 97% figure advertised by the industry. See, for example, Planned Parenthood's webpage on the abortion pill at www.plannedparenthood.org
According to Medscape Medical News (5/5/09), Melissa Stafford, the lead researcher who presented the findings at the ACOG meeting, indicated that simultaneous administration was "convenient," according to a reporter, "because it allowed the physician to confirm that medication was taken properly" and because "it eliminated the risk of losing medications."
Unspoken, but obviously a factor to patients, was the "convenience" of not having to plan a return visit for the second pill.
In the end, Dr. Stafford indicated, the reduced effectiveness was too big a hurdle for the Boston Medical Center. "We have changed our practice," she told Medscape, "and we no longer offer simultaneous administration of mifepristone and misoprostol for medication abortions."
None of this came as any surprise to pro-life experts who have followed the twists and turns over the last decade.
"Those who have developed and promoted RU 486 have told women that the abortifacient offers them a way to have an abortion without the risk of surgery," says Dr. Randall K. O'Bannon, National Right to Life's Director of Education and Research.
"But as this latest study shows," he continued, "the abortion industry's efforts to tamper with the FDA protocol have decreased the 'effectiveness' of these drugs and put many of these women in line for surgical abortions after their chemical abortions failed."
Almost immediately after the drug combination received government approval, the abortion industry began to ignore the FDA-prescribed protocol. They altered the doses-- decreasing the dose of the expensive RU486 (at one point, priced $90 a pill, three pills to a dose) and increasing the dosage of the cheap prostaglandin (misoprostol). Rather than have women return to the office a couple of days later to take the prostaglandin orally, the clinics gave the women the misoprostol in their first visit when they came in for the RU486, with instructions to take the prostaglandin home and vaginally self administer. The ignored the 49 day limit, prescribing the pills to women at 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks or more along in their pregnancy.
Although the industry refused to link the decision, when women began to die, they pulled back some.
Planned Parenthood, the leader in the abortion industry, announced it would no longer be recommending the vaginal self administration of the misoprostol. Their website temporarily reduced time frame it could be used from 63 to 56 days. (It is back up to 63 now.)
This most recent study shows that the industry continues its efforts to streamline the process, with all the risks inherent in that.
O'Bannon noted, "Making chemical abortions more 'convenient' for patients, for abortionists, may help the industry attract more customers, but it may also have the consequence of making these already dangerous abortions even more dangerous for women."
He concluded, "As long as the abortion industry puts its own profits and preferences ahead of patient safety, both mothers and their unborn children will continue to face danger behind clinic doors."