While many people focus solely on RU 486, the so-called " French abortion pill," the RU 486 technique actually uses two powerful synthetic hormones with the generic names of mifepristone and misoprostol to chemically induce abortions in women five-to-nine weeks pregnant.
The RU 486 procedure requires at least three trips to the abortion facility. In the first visit, the woman is given a physical exam, and if she has no obvious contra-indications ("red flags" such as smoking, asthma, high blood pressure, obesity, etc., that could make the drug deadly to her), she swallows the RU 486 pills. RU 486 blocks the action of progesterone, the natural hormone vital to maintaining the rich nutrient lining of the uterus. The developing baby starves as the nutrient lining disintegrates.
At a second visit 36 to 48 hours later, the woman is given a dose of artificial prostaglandins, usually misoprostol, which initiates uterine contractions and usually causes the embryonic baby to be expelled from the uterus. Most women abort during the 4-hour waiting period at the clinic, but about 30% abort later at home, work, etc., as many as 5 days later. A third visit about 2 weeks later determines whether the abortion has occurred or a surgical abortion is necessary to complete the procedure (5 to 10% of all cases).
There are several serious well-documented side effects associated with RU 486/prostaglandin abortions, including prolonged (up to 44 days) and severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain, and even death.
On May 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration confirmed that a total of six women in the US have died using the drug RU 486.
Concerned Women for America, a pro-life women’s group under the Freedom of Information Act, receive public documents from the FDA. These list over 600 adverse effects by women taking this drug. These included 220 cases of hemorrhage that were either life threatening or extremely serious, 71 of which required blood transfusions. In addition, 392 reports indicated women requiring surgery to repair damage resulting from the abortion including many under emergency conditions. As a result of this, many have petitioned the FDA to remove this dangerous drug from the market before more women die.
Long-term effects of the drug have not yet been sufficiently studied, but there are reasons to believe that RU 486 could affect not only a woman’s current pregnancy, but her future pregnancies as well, potentially inducing miscarriages or causing severe malformations in later children.
Printed with permission from National Right to Life (www.nrlc.org ). "Abortion: Some Medical Facts"