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FDA approval for RU-486 ought to be aborted

By Paul M. Weyrich
web posted September 2, 2002

Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest women's group, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Christian Medical Association have done the Bush Administration and the nation a great favor. They have filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration requesting that the FDA immediately revoke its approval of RU486, the abortion pill. The petition, some 186 pages of carefully crafted legal arguments, demonstrates that the Clinton Administration pressured the FDA to approve RU486 without the safeguards which even the FDA itself wanted to promulgate. The CWA et al. petition identifies at least one woman, perhaps two known to be dead as the result of the lack of safeguards associated with RU486. Others have been physically harmed.

RU-486The Clinton Administration was known for having broken promises to almost every group that supported it in 1992. The one exception was the pro-abortionists. Bill Clinton never disappointed them and they insisted that RU486 be approved and approved with no restrictions.

President George W. Bush was asked about RU486 during the campaign. He said he would take a look at it, and if the drug was a danger to women he would see about possibly rescinding the FDA action. The petition says that the FDA failed to carry out its mission of ensuring that only drugs shown to be safe and effective are approved for marketing.

The petition is the culmination of a 22-month investigation. Among other things, some 8,000 documents released by the FDA were reviewed. The petition, according to CWA, "details numerous violations of the agency's standards and rules." The petition also reports on medical complications suffered by women who took the completely unregulated RU486.

"Concerned Women for America is dedicated to seeing that the previously high standards of the FDA are restored and that the American public is once again safe from politically driven bureaucrats whose irresponsible actions have unnecessarily cost the lives and health of trusting and otherwise healthy women. This is a shameful episode for a once trusted institution."

Dr. David Hager, a spokesman for the Christian Medical Association, said "As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I have a passion for the health and well being of women and their unborn/newborn offspring. The use of any medication that puts the life and health of either of these individuals at risk implores me to call for a thorough and exhaustive evaluation, in an evidence based manner, on such drugs. RU486 is such an agent, posing risks to women and their unborn babies, pressing me to call upon the FDA to reconsider its 'fast track' approval of Mifeprex [RU486]."

Dr. Donna Harrison, of the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls RU486 dangerous. "The recent deaths in Canada and the United States during RU486 abortions support our findings. To safeguard the health of American women, this drug must be removed from the market."

The reason this petition is so helpful is because it provides the basis for HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and the President to do the right thing. These groups didn't just whine and complain. They did an exhaustive study and put some of the nation's better legal minds to work to formulate the petition.

The Bush Administration has demonstrated over and over again that it is committed to the pro-life cause. The Administration has the documentation it needs to withdraw this drug from the market place. Of course the usual suspects will shriek to high heaven. But so what? They rail against the president anyway no matter what he does. They have even objected to the president's call for adopting unwanted embryos because adoption suggests that there is a human being involved. No matter how far the stretch, they'll find a reason to shriek, so the president and Secretary Thompson may as well give them a good reason for doing so.

Paul M. Weyrich is President of the Free Congress Foundation.

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