Pro-RU486 Ads Overlook Risks Involved!
Pro-RU486 Ads Overlook Risks and Dangers!

From: The Pro-Life Infonet
Reply-To: Steven Ertelt at
Subject: Pro-RU 486 Ads Overlook Risks and Dangers
Source: Family Research Council; July 24, 2001

by Teresa Wagner ===================

[Pro-Life Infonet Note: Teresa Wagner is special counsel for life issues at the Family Research Council. She regularly speaks on television news programs in defense of life issues.]

The National Abortion Federation plans to run advertisements this summer on the controversial abortion drug, RU-486. Vicki Saporta, the federation's executive director, insists the campaign "really isn't marketing, it's education." So one thing is certain: This is marketing.

The federation is an association of abortionists that promotes abortion in the areas of medicine, politics and, apparently, fashion magazines. Of the publications asked to run the ad -- including Glamour, People, Self, Mademoiselle and Cosmopolitan -- only Redbook has declined to do so.

Featured in the ad is a pretty woman looking off into the distance with the text, "You have the freedom to choose. And now, you have another safe abortion choice." At the bottom is a blurb highlighting the drug's FDA approval and a 1-800 number.

Redbook's decision has now made it a target of an online petition by pro-abortion groups, who claim the magazine is "censoring" early abortion options and depriving women of a "public education" advertisement.

A magazine's refusal to run an ad is not censorship, of course, and the ad in question is not "education" of any sort: The 1-800 number is simply a referral to the federation's member clinics. The ad is just an ad -- which is to say that it is designed to sell a product: the abortion pill.

Most businesses need advertising to sell their products. This is especially true of something like RU-486, which doesn't do very well on its own. Consider the European experience: According to Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, no more than 10 percent of women seeking abortions in France have selected chemical abortion. In Great Britain, the rate is even lower, at 6 percent.

Such limited use is understandable. The administration of RU-486 involves three clinic visits: one to give mifepristone (brand name Mifeprex), which blocks the hormones necessary for the child to develop; another to administer misoprostol (brand name Cytotec), which stimulates contractions to expel the child; and yet another to ensure that no human parts remain in the womb. If some do, surgical abortion becomes necessary. This happens in 5 percent to 8 percent of cases.

According to Edouard Sakiz, former CEO of Roussel-Uclaf, the drug's French manufacturer, the process takes "at least a week" (possibly much longer since the effectiveness of contractions varies with each woman) and is an "appalling ordeal." Catherine Euvard, Roussel-Uclaf spokeswoman, explained that many women in France avoid the drugs because "when they take a pill ... there is more psychological pain."

For doctors, the problems are more practical. The visits required, the counseling involved and the necessary follow-up make RU-486 labor-intensive and time-consuming. As Pittsburgh abortionist Mitchell Creinin remarked after trying to teach others about mifepristone, "Most doctors who say they are interested in offering this, change their minds when you tell them what's involved."

Recent reports about the pill's reception in the United States confirm Creinin's observations.

If the ad campaign were truly educational, it could only provide more reasons to avoid the drug. For example, nowhere will a consumer be told that while RU-486 is distributed in America by a company called Danco Laboratories, it is made by a state-owned pharmaceutical factory in China. According to former Rep. Tom Bliley, former chairman of the House Commerce Committee, this same factory has shipped highly contaminated, as well as mislabeled, drugs to the United States.

Neither does the National Abortion Federation inform women that Cytotec, the second drug required in the regimen, has not been approved by the FDA for abortion. Its manufacturer, the Searle unit of Pharmacia Corp., has officially warned against this use. In a strongly worded letter to health-care providers last summer, Searle explained that the serious adverse events reported with off-label use of Cytotec in pregnant women include "maternal or fetal death" and "uterine hyper stimulation and rupture."

Information is not the point of advertising, Saporta's comments notwithstanding. Selling is. The abortion business doesn't like to admit this, however, because it wants more than anything for abortion to be considered medicine -- hence the dubious term "medical abortion" attached to RU-486. Indeed, advocates for the drug hope abortion in pill form will seduce more doctors into the practice, and thereby mainstream it.


You can find more information on the risks and dangers of RU 486 at Pro-Life Information

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