Republican legislators plan to reintroduce a bill to suspend the abortion drug RU-486 pending a six-month investigation by the Government Accountability Office which will review the process used to approve the drug.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) will introduce the RU-486 Suspension and Review Act, which is a similar legislation to Hollys Law, a bill introduced after the death of a girl who died from using the drug.
Since the abortion drug, also known as Mifeprex, the brand name for Mifepristone, was put on the market in 2000, hundreds of users have reported adverse side effects. The most well-known case is the death of Holly Patterson who died from septic shock, according to an autopsy report released last week. The deaths of two more women have also been linked to the use of Mifeprex.
These cases have led FDA to announce earlier this week a newly revised label, which warns users of possible dangerous side effects such as bacterial infection, sepsis, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies that have ruptured, bleeding, and death. Pro-life and pro-family groups say the new label is still inadequate in preventing harm to women who use the drug and are asking the FDA to withdraw it from the market.
The FDA approved RU-486 in 2000 under the Clinton Administration and has repeatedly called the drug safe and effective. Pro-life groups suspect political reasons played more of a role in the approval of the drug than the FDA regulations for medical safety. RU-486 was known to have serious side effects such as hemorrhaging and uterine rupture, according to a press release from the Family Research Council. Both were known at the time and still, the drug was approved.
"This harmful and unethical drug was processed with a minimal amount of testing and short-circuited through the approval process due to political motivations. Kudos to Republican leadership in recognizing that RU-486 should be eliminated," said Dr. Pia de Solenni, Director of Life and Women's Issues with Family Research Council.
The bill is also backed by Hollys parents Monty and Helen Patterson who sent a letter to Congress on Thursday urging its passing.
"As parents, we cannot allow our beautiful Holly's horrible death to be in vain," the Pattersons wrote. "RU-486 has caused serious injury and has been implicated in the deaths of other young women. Now, it has killed our daughter."
In the letter, they also called on California lawmakers to support a parental notification bill which they believe would lift the veil of secrecy between children and parents and give parents the opportunity to talk to their children about abortion risks.