When the FDA first approved RU-486 — a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — as an abortifacient for the general public’s use, manufactured by Danco Laboratories, their guidelines suggested oral use as the safest way to effect an abortion. However, Planned Parenthood (PP) had been telling women to use the drug as a suppository, and by their own admission giving it thusly in their clinics. This resulted in serious cases of infection and even death.
An article in the September issue in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy in 2005, yes folks, 2005, noted that researchers and doctors already knew that mifepristone could result in rare bacterial infections. Mifepristone shuts off nutrition to the placenta and the developing baby. (Misoprostol is used to cause contractions, forcing the body to expel the dead baby.)
Dr. Ralph P. Miech wrote that mifepristone causes changes that allow C. sordellii, a usually non-threatening bacteria, to spread into areas of the body where it is not normally found. “C. sordellii thrives in this low-oxygen environment and derives nutrition from the decaying fetal tissue,” he said. Miech noted that C. sordellii infections are “rare outside of mifepristone use,” and added that death can occur because of septic shock, which is a result of inflammation.
Miech’s conclusion was corroborated by Frank Gentle, the coroner investigator who looked into the death of one of the women who took the drugs. Gentle said, “The abortion caused inflammation, which caused the shock, which caused her death.”
As for misoprostol, researchers at the University of Michigan found that it, too, can cause C. sordellii to spread when injected directly into the reproductive tract, because the misoprostol suppresses key immune responses. So it seems that the combination of misoprostol and mifepristone can deliver a double dose of bacterial trouble to users.
Already in 2004 the FDA required Danco to include in its black-box warning label that serious bacterial infections may occur even though no symptoms are obvious in some women. So it’s odd that in a phone interview Mary Fjerstad of Planned Parenthood stated this week she was not sure why taking the pills as a suppository might cause infections.
In 2006, Planned Parenthood started administering the combo drugs orally, finally conforming to the FDA’s initial protocol after reports of five deaths in 2005 alone came to light; women who died within a week of undergoing medical abortions. (The number has risen to eight since then.) Along with this, they started testing women for sexually transmitted diseases, and if present, also prescribed antibiotics in conjunction with the abortifacients. From there they’ve moved on to automatically administering both the drugs and the antibiotics.
The New England Journal of Medicine now reports that the rate of infection in women has decreased, from approximately 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 16,000. More precisely, 3 infections out of 46,777 women.
By disregarding and violating the FDA’s minimal guidelines, Planned Parenthood put many, many women at risk. And they continue to do so by advising women to take the second part of the abortion pill process at home, where, without medical oversight, complications such has massive hemorrhaging can occur.