Studies - General Research

Women Who Use Abortion Drug Mifepristone Experience More Pain, Emotional Distress (BJOG, 2010)

Study: Women Who Use Abortion Drug Mifepristone Experience More Pain, Emotional Distress

The abortion drug mifepristone (more commonly known as RU 486) was supposed to be a panacea for women — allowing them to have safer abortions in the privacy of their own home.

But a new study out of England finds women who had the drug-induced abortions preferred the surgical abortion procedure.

They complained of more medical problems and more mental health issues following the use of the abortion drug and the passing of the body of the dead baby.

More than half the women who took the abortion drug (53 percent) told researchers their experience was worse than expected.

Teresa Kelly and colleagues at Newcastle University followed 122 women who had either the surgical abortion or used the mifepristone pill in the second trimester of pregnancy and published their findings in the obstetrics journal BJOG.

They found all of the women in the surgical abortion group would decide to have a surgical abortion again.

The women who used the abortion drug reported more pain and more vaginal bleeding and, two weeks after the abortion, they were much more likely to report "intrusive" psychological symptoms ranging from unwanted thoughts to nightmares of killing their unborn child.

The authors of the study acknowledged its limitations, according to a Reuters report, saying they had a hard time finding women willing to be randomly assigned the abortion drug or having the surgical abortion procedure. And only 60 percent of women returned the follow-up questionnaire.

"The results therefore need confirming in a much larger study before the real clinical impact can be determined," Kelly told Reuters Health in an email.

Still, the results show some interesting information — such as how 37 percent of women taking the abortion drug said they experienced much heavier bleeding than their menstrual period.

Kelly said the research shows the abortion drug should not "replace" the surgical abortion procedure and she noted the study found women who were later in pregnancy were less interested in the abortion drug than those earlier in pregnancy.

The report follows news in the United States that two more women than originally thought had died from using the abortion drug and developing severe infections from it.

The two women died after developing a Clostridium sordellii infection after using the abortion drug. Two separate studies — conducted by the University of Michigan and a Brown University researcher — showed that off-label use of the drug caused the infections in the women who took it and the infections led to septic shock that claimed their lives.

The two new cases include the 2008 death of a 29-year-old Hispanic woman and the 2009 death of a 21-year-old Caucasian woman.

Just weeks ago, Americans pro-life advocates were distressed to mark the 10th anniversary of the FDA approval of the abortion drug.

In January 2008, RU 486 maker Danco Laboratories announced approximately 13 percent of all abortions in the United States involve mifepristone — a number that may seem low but it is double the number of women who used the abortion drug in 2001.

The report also showed 57 percent of places that do abortions now have the abortion drug, compared with just 33 percent in 2001.

Ultimately, Danco indicated that 840,000 women in the United States have had abortions with its dangerous drug – a number that is very likely over one million in the two and a half years that have passed.

Reuters estimates the number of abortions involving RU 486 has now reached 1.4 million.
[October 12, 2010, London, England, http://www.lifenews.com/int1664.html]