Petition Against Abortion Drug Is Applauded

Jeopardizes Women’s Health, Says Bishops’ Aide

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 21, 2002 ( A U.S. bishops’ aide praised a petition to force the abortion drug RU-486 off the market in the United States.

A petition filed with the Food and Drug Administration seeks a ruling which would withdraw the abortion drug, known as Mifeprex, on the grounds it jeopardizes the health and safety of women.

«The petition sets forth startling evidence that the FDA violated repeatedly its own procedures and safeguards to bring this drug to market,» said Cathleen Cleaver, spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat. «The evidence suggests a process dominated by politics, with women’s health a secondary, and distant, concern.»

In their petition, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association and Concerned Women for America argued that FDA bent its own rules in approving Mifeprex, including eliminating safeguards required during the pill’s testing.

For example, the FDA approved Mifeprex under a fast-track policy designed for rapid approval of life-saving experimental treatments for patients with lethal diseases, such as AIDS or cancer, even when the treatments have not been thoroughly tested.

«Since Mifeprex may only be used on healthy mothers with healthy pregnancies, there is no way to justify approval of this drug for a life-threatening illness,» Cleaver said today.

The petition asserts that current use of Mifeprex subjects women to dangers of massive bleeding, infection, the need for transfusions, and the misdiagnosis of ectopic pregnancies.

«There is no reason to place more women at risk of death or serious health consequences,» the bishops’ spokeswoman said. «For the good of women and children, Mifeprex should be withdrawn immediately.»

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