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Report: 29 deaths worldwide from RU-486

WASHINGTON (BP)–Use of the abortion drug RU-486 has resulted in the deaths of 29 women worldwide, according to a new report.

Exeglyn, the European manufacturer of RU-486, reported the total, which is more than twice the previous estimate, to the Italian Pharmaceuticals Agency (AIFA), LifeNews.com said in a July 31 article based on news media sources. The estimate had been 13 deaths, according to LifeNews.

AIFA, meanwhile, approved RU-486 for sale in Italy for the first time. Previously, only surgical abortions had been available.

Abortions have decreased in Italy for more than two decades. The number of abortions has fallen from more than 234,000 in 1982 to less than 137,000 in 2004, according to LifeNews.

Eight women’s deaths in the United States have been associated with RU-486, as well as nine life-endangering situations, about 120 blood transfusions and more than 200 hospitalizations, Sen. Jim DeMint, R.-S.C., said in 2006. DeMint is a leading Senate opponent of the federal government’s approval of the abortion drug.

RU-486, also known as mifepristone, is used as the first part in a two-step process in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child, resulting in his death. A second drug, misoprostol, is taken two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby.

The FDA approved the sale of RU-486 in the U.S. in 2000, four months before President Clinton finished his second term.
Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.