The Italian Ministry of Health has confirmed that a Portuguese sixteen-year-old died from a bacterial infection after taking the abortion pill RU-486. The case was first reported in an abstract of a study submitted to the 21st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease conference held May 7 – 10 in Italy.
The Health Ministry stated in a press release on May 12 that this is the first European case in which the deadly clostridium sordelli infection was detected. It also reported “a total of 32 confirmed dead after taking of RU-486”. An additional two more women have died from other chemical abortions. At the time that Italy decided to allow RU-486 in 2009, the European maker of the drug told officials that 29 women had died.
The Italian Ministry of Health will ask the European Medicines Agency to investigate and provide an updated report on deaths and complications associated with RU-486. Italy will be releasing its data on RU-486 abortions in a few weeks.
C. sordelli infections from RU-486 are fatal 100 percent of the time. Reports of other deaths in Europe associated with RU-486 were not linked to the rare bacteria. One teenager in Sweden died from blood loss from the abortion pill. After inquiries from Parliament, British officials admitted in 2004 that two women in the UK lost their lives after taking RU-486. Another British teenager died in 2005, but it was not reported until 2008. A woman in France and another in Canada died during those countries’ trials of RU-486.
Eight women in the U.S. have died from fatal toxic shock syndrome after taking the RU-486 regime (mifepristone and misoprostal), according to reports filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Another woman died from a burst ectopic pregnancy, masked by the symptoms of RU-486.) It is likely more deaths have occurred but were not reported to the FDA, or the intensive testing to identify the bacteria was not conducted.
Monty Patterson, who lost his daughter Holly from RU-486, discovered the initial report of the Portuguese teenager and brought it to the attention of European authorities. He stated:
“This may be the first reported global case that needs to be further investigated as part of the ongoing review of C. sordellii medical abortion deaths that includes my daughter, Holly Patterson, and others in the United States and Canada.
“The relevance of this information suggests that C. sordellii fatal toxic shock after medical abortion must be recognized as a global concern. I believe many more women may have died due to inadequate diagnosis or delays in treatment as they relate to medical abortion with mifepristone (RU486) and misoprostol. Additionally, serious injuries and deaths may have not been internationally reported due to voluntary or poor reporting standards of these events to the proper regulatory authorities that monitor drug related deaths.”
A recently released study from Australia found that chemical abortions are more dangerous than surgical abortions, resulting in far higher rates of serious complications. One in 200 women suffered severe hemorrhaging from chemical RU-486 abortions, compared to one in 3,000 women from surgical abortions. Hospital admissions for infection from chemical RU-486 were one in 480 while only one in 1500 were due to surgical abortion.
Abortion advocates are pushing for RU-486 to be available in poor countries, which lack access to hospitals and basic medical care. They report that limited studies in developing countries found no complications when women took RU-486. The experience in the US and Europe, however, indicates that complications are simply not reported or not linked to the cause. The medical and reporting system necessary to make the link does not exist in developing countries.
In 2002, Concerned Women for America filed a challenge to the FDA’s approval of RU-486. It described how the trials were substandard, that the indications were that the drug was dangerous, and that the FDA violated its own regulations and standards. Since its approval, abortionists have ignored the FDA’s guidelines on the drug, putting women at greater risk.