A doctor and a lawyer are calling for the abortion drug RU-486 to be approved in Canada. Sheila Dunn, research director of the Family Practice Health Centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and board member of the National Abortion Federation, and Rebecca Cook, a reproductive law expert at the University of Toronto, wrote a commentary for the Canadian Medical Association Journal advocating for what they call the “gold standard” for medical abortion.

According to the authors of the editorial, a pharmaceutical company has presented the first known new drug submission to Health Canada in 2012 for the mifepristone regimen. A previous Canadian clinical trial of the drug led by abortionist Ellen Wiebe was stopped when one woman died from septic shock in 2001, eight days after taking the abortion pill  due to a uterine clostridium infection.

Mifepristone was developed in the 1980s and acts by blocking progesterone, causing the degradation of the endometrial lining, thereby making the womb inhospitable to embryonic human life. One to two days after mifepristone administration, the woman takes misoprostol to eject the aborted baby and uterine contents. Canadian women currently have access to methotrexate followed in 5 to 7 days by misoprostol. The authors claim that methotrexate is inferior to mifepristone because the time course of the abortion is “longer” and “less predictable,” and causes serious fetal defects if it fails. As well, the authors complain that methotrexate abortions are “labour-intensive” for the abortionists because they “must be willing to obtain the drug, administer it intramuscularly and follow women over weeks to ensure the abortion is complete.” Dunn and Cook cite a few studies to emphasize that women prefer mifepristone and that the regimen is safe.

Dunn told Postmedia News that approving mifepristone “would very much improve access the abortion in areas of the country where services are difficult to get.” The drug “could be provided by a primary care provider, like a nurse practitioner, family physician or midwife.”

RU-486, however, is associated with serious and sometimes fatal side effects. A 2011 study of abortions in South Australia in 2009 found that 3.3 per cent of women who used mifepristone for abortion ended up in the hospital, while 2.2 per cent of women with surgical abortions had to go to the emergency room. The rate was 5.7 per cent for all medical abortions. In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that 14 women died since 2006 after taking RU-486 and there were 2,207 adverse events, including 612 hospitalizations.

Misoprostol, which is included in both the mifepristone and methotrexate regimens, is also dangerous, with adverse events including maternal or fetal death, causing the need for a hysterectomy, severe vaginal bleeding, and amniotic fluid embolism, according to the manufacturer. “This is death we are talking about, not just of the unborn babies but sometimes of the mothers themselves,” stated Canadian Physicians for Life in a press release. “Maternal death in the course of the unnecessary and intentional destruction of a child should be seen as a special tragedy and a repudiation of all that is good in the Canadian medical system.”

“This human pesticide has no redeeming value for the mother or the baby,” said Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, in a press release.

In a blog post, Alissa Golob, youth coordinator of CLC, wrote that “it should not come as a surprise that Hoechst, the company parented by I.G. Farben – who made Zyklon-B – the poison gas used in Hitler’s gas chambers during the Holocaust – developed RU-486. They’ve learned from their mistakes this time around. Admitting up-front to human extermination isn’t good PR. All they need now are a few pro-‘choice’ doctors and a medical journal and they’re off to the races.”