Family First NZ is supporting protests against Family Planning applying to the Abortion Supervisory Committee for a license to use the abortion pill RU486 to perform abortions.

This will mean that Family Planning will be able to talk women into having abortions, and then carry the procedure out on them. There is a huge conflict of interest here. Those offering advice shouldn’t be the ones performing the abortions.

There is also huge concern about the drug’s considerable harmful effects on women’s health, with a US track record that includes deaths and over a thousand reports of complica­tions – many of them serious or life-threatening. RU-486 has produced none of the effects of normalising abortion that were predicted for it.

The US FDA has released reports of complications including death resulting from:
· haemorrhage (excessive bleeding)
· serious and sometimes fatal infections
· missed diagnoses of ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube)
Up to 10% of women will still require surgical abortions to complete the process and there have been at least five deaths in the US that resulted directly from severe infection in the blood stream of women who took RU-486 orally.

Edouard Sakiz, chairman of Roussel Uclaf, the company that first marketed RU-486 said “As abortifacient procedures go, RU-486 is not at all easy to use . . . a woman who wants to end her pregnancy has to ‘live’ with her abortion for at least a week using this technique. It’s an appalling psychological ordeal.”

And Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu, the inventor of RU-486 “It’s insulting to women to say that abortion now will be as easy as taking aspirins. It is always difficult, psychologically and physically, sometimes tragic.”

Family First is calling for informed consent (including ultrasound) for women considering an abortion, and a ‘cooling period’ before making the decision. They also want parental notification for teenagers who are seeking an abortion.

We believe women and teenage girls are entitled to the truth when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, including all the options available. They should not be exploited by Family Planning who have a conflict of interest, including a financial conflict of interest.

Dame Margaret Sparrow is an Honorary Vice President and life member of the Family Planning Assoc. She is also a share holder and director of Istar Ltd, the sole importer of RU486. She supports the application by Family Planning to the Abortion Supervisory Committee for a licence to perform medical abortions at its Hamilton clinic.

The synthetic agent, a poison, acts by blocking the hormone progesterone which enables the baby to remain implanted in the mother’s womb and to be nourished. The embryo’s bond to the uterus breaks down, halting foetal development. 1-3 days later a second drug, prostaglandin, is administered. This synthetic hormone causes the cervix to soften and dilate and the uterus to contract, expelling the foetus. Usually this occurs within four hours. Many women expel at home, see the foetus and are shocked to see how developed it is. The proper use of the drug requires three visits to a physician or clinic over a period of about 15 days. This compares to the one-step surgical procedure.

Long term effects of the drug have not yet been sufficiently studied, but there are reasons to believe that RU-486 could affect not only a woman’s current pregnancy, but her future pregnancies as well, potentially inducing miscarriages or causing severe malformations in later children.

UPDATE: Failures recorded as demand soars for abortion pill
The Australian October 02, 2010
THE first failures of the abortion pill have been reported in Australia amid a surge in the take-up of RU486. Therapeutic Goods Administration data shows use of the controversial drug increased greatly in the second half of last year after a national chain of day clinics was licensed to use it. Also known as mifepristone, RU486 is generally used with another drug, misoprostol, to induce abortions that can take place at home. But in 14 Australian cases the drugs failed and the termination had to be completed surgically. A further 110 cases of “adverse effects” were reported by the 81 doctors authorised to prescribe RU486 as at the end of last year, including those at the Marie Stopes organisation, which operates 13 clinics in the eastern states, ACT and Western Australia.