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The RU 486/Cytotec prostaglandin (RU 486/PG) abortion technique is expected to be approved for the U.S. market some time during January, 2000, according to reports in the December 13, 1999, People magazine and the December 14, 1999, Philadelphia Daily News
We encourage authoritative and objective news coverage which presents a balanced picture of the pros and cons. This sheet highlights some key hazards and unanswered questions about the two-drug RU 486 technique that the promoters should address.
Additional documentation is available on the Internet at http://www.lifeissues.org.
For a national contact and detailed background on these questions, you can call J.C. Willke, M.D., one of the leading pro-life experts, at (513) 729-3600, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Safety Issues For Women
How will the abortionist guarantee truly informed consent among non-English speaking women?
Is the abortion procedure any different from what was tested in the U.S.? If it is different, how do women know it is safe?
Will teenagers below age 18 be allowed to use RU 486? (They were excluded from the U.S. test.) How do teens know RU 486 is safe without tests?
How often can a woman use RU 486? Will there be a limit to the number of times? What could happen to her?
What preexisting health conditions will bar women from using RU 486? Is the list of conditions different from the U.S. test? Why?
Will every abortionist be required to use ultrasound to precisely date the woman’s pregnancy and guarantee she does not have a potentially life-threatening tubal pregnancy? (The effectiveness of RU 486 drops sharply after seven weeks of pregnancy, and it has no effect on tubal pregnancy.)
Will the pregnant woman take the second drug (Cytotec prostaglandin) at the abortionist’s office or at home? If at home, how will the abortionist guarantee that she takes it on time? What would happen if she doesn’t?
How can Cytotec prostaglandin, the second drug in RU 486 technique, be used for abortion when its current labeling specifically bans it from being used for that purpose? (Cytotec’s labeling also says it can cause birth defects.) Did the manufacturer of Cytotec, G.D. Searle, ask the FDA for a change in labeling? Will Searle take responsibility for birth defects?
Have there been any studies about the long-term medical or psychological effects of RU 486 on women beyond the usual two-week follow-up period? If not, how can women be assured that taking these two powerful hormones will not cause serious health problems later?
Are the abortionists qualified?
Will non-Ob/Gyn’s use RU 486? If so, will non-surgeons be performing operations on the 5% of women who must have surgery for incomplete or failed abortion?
Who is going to pay for the surgery and emergency-room costs of the 5% of women who have incomplete or failed abortions?
How much training will non-Ob/Gyn’s have before using RU 486? How will women know that the abortionist is qualified to handle complications and surgery?
Are abortionists required to follow the protocol approved by the FDA? What happens if they don’t?
Will women using RU 486 have direct contact with a physician any time during the abortion process?
Will RU 486 harm children?
What happened to the babies of women who took RU 486 and still carried to term? How many estimated cases will occur in the U.S. each year? If a baby is born with deformities caused by RU 486 or Cytotec, who will pay for the care?
How will the abortionist insure that women will return for the mandatory follow up to check whether the drugs worked? Are there going to be any special procedures for non-English- speaking women or low-income women who are too poor to own a telephone?
How will the abortionist follow up with teenagers who do not want to be called at home?
Will the manufacturer of RU 486 be kept secret? If so, how would women and their children who are harmed by RU 486 be able to get compensation?