WASHINGTON, DC February 18, 2001 (National Review from ProLifeInfo.net) -
Abortion activists haven't been this happy in a while. First Bush
reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy, which they call the "gag
rule," so United States taxpayer dollars wouldn't go to groups that
advocate or perform abortions overseas. The feminists would have you
believe that nothing more debilitating could have happened in George W.
Bush's first week. How will Planned Parenthood go on?
Well, as has been reported, Planned Parenthood has some reasons to be
grateful to the 43rd president. They are watching money pour in from
activists concerned that Bush might actually make abortion safer for the
women who exercise their right to choose, and rarer, so a few less babies
Consummate fundraisers that they are, they made great use of the Ashcroft
nomination. And they are having fun with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson (who
ironically, many pro-lifers are worried about, particularly because of his
attitude toward stem-cell research).
With Ashcroft sworn in, and Europe picking up the international abortion
tab the U.S. dropped, the flavor of last week was a bill introduced by
Sen. Tim Hutchinson and Rep. David Vitter, restricting access to the
abortion regime known as RU-486.
The move, of course, is seen as reactionary pro-life politics. As Gloria
Feldt says, "The reproductive right and health of American women are being
threatened by a handful of legislators who want their personal ideology to
replace the judgement of doctors and scientists."
Ahem? "The judgement of doctors and scientists," dear Ms. Feldt, is that
the regime that the Clinton FDA made available in an expedited
pre-election move this fall is unsafe for American women, never mind their
fetuses. Although it's been fairly unsuccessfully kept off the front
pages, Searle Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the "step 2" pill that
must be taken with Mifepristone to complete the abortion process, is
cautioning doctors against prescribing their pill for abortions.
Misoprostol, an ulcer drug, must be taken to expel a dead baby after
Mifepristone, known popularly as RU-486, stops the placenta from growing.
Over a month before the FDA approved the combo for abortion, Searle issued
a letter warning that Misoprostol "is not approved for the induction of
labor or abortion." In its letter Searle cautions that "Serious adverse
events reported following off-label use of Cytotec in pregnant women
include maternal or fetal death; uterine hyperstimulation, rupture or
perforation requiring uterine surgical repair, hysterectomy or
salpingo-oophorectomy; amniotic fluid embolism; severe vaginal bleeding,
retained placenta, shock, fetal bradycardia and pelvic pain."
Consider for a moment the global record. The oft-cited statistics about
.05 women suffering side effects - nausea, moderate to severe bleeding -
are based on well-supervised U.S. clinical trials. The FDA determination
that the Mifepristone/Misoprostol combo was "safe and effective" for women
was based on French trials, where the chemical abortions were performed at
government hospitals and clinics, usually with an emergency room nearby.
Women were screened for various medical conditions and ultrasound was used
to determine gestational age. As is well documented, women are monitored
on site for four hours after being given Misoprostol in case of allergic
reactions, cardiopulmonary "events," hemorrhaging.things that, untreated,
could quickly become life-threatening.
In China, women are, according to the Journal of the American Medical
Women's Association, "supervised by the midwife for 4 to 6 hours at the
out-patient clinic." And, even in murderous China (according to a JAMWA
article), "the emphasis on close medical supervision is well accepted. It
is stressed that misoprostol should be taken in the clinic and followed by
several hours of observation."
No such supervision is required in the U.S., but you don't hear the press,
the women's groups, or even many pro-life groups telling you that.
Not to knock those who are making an effort. But, as Vitter's House bill
makes its way to the Senate and dies, someone better let it be known how
high the stakes are. If it were up to Feldt & Co., not only would millions
of babies die each year, but their mothers would die right along with
them. Just take a look at abortion malpractice suits - at women who have
died, who have been injured at the hands of certified abortionists. Now,
imagine a country where abortion pills are handed out just as easily as
antibiotics, taken in the quiet of the home. Abortions, yes. And, added to
the inevitable mental anguish that comes with abortion, serious physical
If there was ever any doubt that "safe and rare" was just an afterthought,
here it is.