In 2001, drug trials for the abortion inducing drug RU-486 was halted after protests and the death of a woman from septic shock.
Renewed efforts to make this drug available in Canada began this past November. At this time, the Canadian Medical Association Journal featured an article critical of the lack of surgical abortion facilities in rural Canada, a slight that can be alleviated via chemical abortions such as RU-486.
Then Society of Family Planning chimed in, announcing that based on a 2012 survey, increasing availability to chemical abortions would save women from travelling and from undergoing surgical abortions, and would increase accessibility to abortion services.
Yesterday, the Journal de Montréal, in two separate features, sung a similar tune. Isabelle Maher and Lise Ravary argued separately that since this abortifacient is available in well over 60 countries, why then is it not available in Canada?
What these articles fail to note is the harm that RU-486 has had on women. According to the Campaign Life Coalition, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports that there have been 14 deaths associated with this drug. Further, the FDA notes that there have been 2000 cases of adverse side effects including hospitalization, significant blood loss, severe infection and blood transfusions.
Corroborating much of this information about RU-486 is a fact sheet published by the group Real Choices Australia. Based on a Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists study, the fact sheet notes the extent of excessive bleeding, the pain, and other adverse effects after using this abortifacient.
Let's pray that Health Canada does not give in to this new wave of pressure, but rather contributes to ensuring the health integrity of women.
p.s. See a couple of recent stories on this topic. First, the National Post published a letter by Mike Schouten entitled "Another skipped abortion debate." Also, the CBC reports that Health Canada will delay its decision until the Fall 2015 as additional information is sought from the manufacturer - "Abortion drug decision pushed back by Health Canada."