RU-486: Complications

What in the past has been less readily acknowledged is that RU-486 is also, at worst, a "maternicide" and at best, deleterious to a woman health. The following is a selected and very brief list of some of the recorded side-effects of RU-486.

  • Death of a young woman in Austrailia in 2010. Reported in ABC News, 19 March 2012
  • One maternal death reported on 25.3.91 by AAP and by The Australian 13-14th April 1991

  • One Heart attack and another cardiac anomaly reported by Roussel, the manufacturer in 1990.

  • Two further instances in 1991 of severe cardiac failures

  • Post-abortion bleeding can be significant in 10% of women, lasting from 3-43 days. Indeed, this bleeding can be so bad that transfusions are needed. Professor Herranz cites a study showing that one in one hundred women required this procedure. In another study by Russel, seven women out of 950 in the trial required a transfusion

  • Substantial pain accompanies the uterine contractions. In the Roussel study previously mentioned, 270 women out of 950 required narcotics, and 280 required less potent pain relievers

  • Other less dramatic side-effects are also common e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea, fainting, fatigue and excessive thirst 

Bio-ethicist Mr Nick Tonti-Filippini has drawn attention to questions that have been raised about the lasting effect of RU-486 on the tissues of the cervix and the uterus. Both of theses structures, and their proper functioning, are of paramount importance to the viability of any future pregnancies. Also, because RU-486 crosses the blood-follicle barrier, there is concern about the drugs effect on the both the ovaries and egg follicles of woman.

The importance of this effect is that a woman is born with her life supply of "eggs." Her body does not create a new ova on each cycle. If her life supply is damaged then the effects of this damage may manifest itself in any or all of her future pregnancies.

Bleeding, common to most cases is prolonged bleeding averaging 9 - 30 days. In the controlled testing reported to date one woman in a hundred bled so badly that she needed either a D&C, surgical scraping out of her womb and/or a blood transfusion. In undeveloped countries, such treatment is often not available and some of these women will bleed to death.
Interuption of Pregnancy with RU486 and prostaglandin. Silvestre et. al. NEM J.Med Vol 322 3/8/90 No 10

Pain

Studies vary but well over half of women need specific pain medication with about 1/3 needing narcotic. There is nausea and vomiting in most cases.

Ectopic pregnancy

These drugs do not kill an embryo growing in her tube. A woman with a tubal pregnancy could take the drug, bleed, think she had passed everything and then suddenly rupture a tube. This is potentially fatal. The only preventative is to do an ultrasound exam on every woman - a test that costs as much as an entire surgical abortion.

Incomplete abortion

This necessitates a surgical intervention and a D&C scraping out of the womb.

Psychological upset

None other than Dr. Edwardo Sakiz, then President Roussel Uclaf,

"The woman must live with this for a full week. This is an appalling psychological ordeal."
RU486 failure in ovarian hetero tropic pregnancy J. Lievin et al. OBGYN August 1990

Sometimes she will pass parts of the baby at home. Firm instructions are that she must save whatever passes in a jar and bring it to the doctor to see that everything is out. In a surgical abortion she rarely sees the pieces. Here she will and she will never forget.

Post abortion syndrome

Many women getting abortions are very ambivalent. One defence mechanism is for to say "I can't help it. I have no choice. Anyhow they are doing this to me." With RU486 she swallows the pills and does it to herself. More research needs to be done on this but indications are that PAS will be at least as common from this method as from surgery.

Foetal deformity

RU486 and a prostaglandin will produce an abortion 95% of the time. The rest will be advised to have a surgical abortion. But there will some who refuse surgery and carry to term. These babies will have a significant possibility of foetal deformity. Two poisonous drugs were given when the hearts, limbs etc were being formed. This didn't quite kill, but the effect can be to cause severe structural deformities as a direct toxic effect similar to those in Thalidomide. In addition, the drugs can cause genetic damage to the developing baby. Genetic damage may also be caused to children she bears later similar to the DES drug tragedy. In the tightly controlled French experience there has been one such tragedy.

A report relates the case of a woman who wanted an abortion and opted for the RU-486 technique. When it "failed" she refused the post RU-486 surgical abortion. The woman had belatedly decided to continue with her pregnancy. Some 14 weeks later an ultra -sound was performed which showed gross deformation of the unborn child.

The baby was subsequently surgically aborted and found to have no kidneys, no external genitalia, no internal reproductive organs, no stomach or gallbladder and its legs had fused together.