Safe and Effective Abortions? Two More RU-486 deaths

by Jill Staneck, also in her blog.

Steve Ertelt at today spotted an innocuous letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine dated September 30 from the Centers for Disease Control dropping huge news: Two more women have died from infections after taking the RU486 abortion cocktail.

This brings the total number of known U.S. deaths to at least 10 in the 10 years since the FDA approved RU486 for abortions. I’ve added clarifying notes [in brackets] to the letter’s details of the deaths…

In 2008, a 29-year-old white Hispanic woman (gravida 3, para 1 [pregnant 3x, 1 live birth], with diabetes) died 6 days after she began to receive 200 mg of oral mifepristone [RU486, which kills the baby] and 800 ?g of vaginal misoprostol [Cytotec, which dilates the cervix to deliver the dead baby] at 5 weeks of gestation, without prophylactic antibiotics. Her symptoms included severe abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea on day 4. She was hospitalized on day 5….  Exploratory laparotomy revealed copious greenish-brown peritoneal fluid and necrotic [dead] uterine and adnexal tissue [ovaries/fallopian tubes]…. she died of sepsis with acute respiratory distress syndrome…. C. sordellii was confirmed….

In 2009, a 21-year-old previously healthy white woman (gravida 3, para 0 [pregnant 3x, no live births]) died 12 days after she began to receive 200 mg of oral mifepristone and 800 ?g of vaginal misoprostol at 7 weeks of gestation, without prophylactic antibiotics. On day 6, severe abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea developed. She was hospitalized the next day…. she died of sepsis with acute renal failure and disseminated intravascular coagulation. C. sordellii was cultured….

Many questions. Where did these deaths occur? Why did the CDC wait so long to alert the public, and why in such a nonpublic way? Did the FDA know of these deaths when recently approving the week-after pill Ella, with a nearly identical chemical composition?

The CDC letter included what I thought was a strange paragraph:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America health centers changed their recommended regimen for medical abortions in the years 2006 and 2007, administering buccal [under the tongue] rather than vaginal misoprostol and adding routine prophylactic antibiotics (doxycycline) in response to rare reports of serious infection after medical abortion. The effectiveness of this revised regimen in preventing C. sordellii infections and the safety of routine administration of antibiotics for this procedure remain unknown.

Why did the CDC feel it necessary to exonerate PP from the deaths? Is PP really exonerated? Is news to come that one or both deaths occurred at noncompliant PPs, and the CDC is merely setting the stage to absolve the parent company, pardon the pun?

Additional information from

That brings the total number of deaths from the abortion drug of women in the United States to eight. Another five women have died in other nations, including Canada, the U.K., Sweden and France, and the European maker of the abortion drug suggests 29 women have died from using it.

“With this latest report, we see that, despite high profile government investigations and public assurances of the drug’s safety, women taking RU 486 continue to die,” National Right to Life education director Randy O’Bannon told this morning. “It’s clearly a dangerous drug that kills unborn children and puts their mothers at risk.”

“We are told that these are extremely rare infections, supposedly unrelated to RU 486 or its accompanying prostaglandin, yet somehow they keep showing up with this specific group of women taking these abortifacients,” he said.

Wendy Wright… [of]… Concerned Women for America says the FDA is taking a curious approach to the abortion pill – informing the public of dangers of other products and drugs but ignoring the problems associated with mifepristone.

“Just this week the FDA released a dire warning to stop using infant sleep positioners because 12 infants died in 13 years. RU-486 has caused at least 9 deaths in less than 10 years,” she said. “According to the FDA’s standards, it needs to warn people not to use RU-486. No respectable doctor would use it.”

I apologize for the inconsistent numbers of deaths contained in these excerpts.  It seem that the CDC is not being forthcoming with accurate numbers leaving reporters to rely on best sources.  For all we know the numbers of women who have died could be much higher.  Having been in Clinical Research for 14 years, I can tell you that if any other drug had 1300 adverse event reports, the FDA would have rescinded approval.


  1. hi

    Our clinic situated in LOS ANGELES, CA. In Our Clinic we provide various abortions services. The services are pregnancy termination, medical abortion, surgical abortion etc.
    for more info visit our website.

    reema roy

Speak Your Mind