Today Rep. Chris Smith (R.-N.J.), co-chairman of the Pro-Life Caucus in the House of Representatives, along with seven other House Republicans, led the charge to take off the market an abortion pill they say is deadly. (See photos below.)
The drug, known officially as Mifeprex or RU-486, is used by women hoping to terminate an unwanted pregnancy; but, at this point, it’s not only killing their unborn babies, it’s killing the women who use it as well.
Recently it was reported that two more women have died as a result of taking the pill — making a total of seven known deaths in the U.S. and at least three overseas since the drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000.
"Sadly, the tragic and preventable deaths of these two women remind us that not only is RU-486 used to kill babies, it is a poison that continues to harm women," said Smith at today’s Capitol Hill press conference. "Even proponents of RU-486, such as Planned Parenthood, have recognized the danger that it has caused to women. How many deaths, investigations and warnings will it take before RU-486 is properly labeled as lethal and removed from the market?"
For this reason, GOP Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), Joe Pitts (Pa.), Mike Pence (Ind.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.) and Jean Schmidt (Ohio) stood with Smith at a press conference today to demand the House take action and vote on "Holly’s law" (H.R. 1079) — a bill authored by Bartlett that would suspend FDA approval of RU-486.
Representatives from Concerned Women for America, the National Right to Life Committee, the Susan B. Anthony List, Democrats for Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and American United for Life were also present at the press conference to voice their support for Holly’s law.
Holly’s law was named for 18-year-old Holly Patterson who died Sept. 17, 2003. Cause of death: septic shock as a result of taking RU-486, according to the coroner’s report.
Holly’s parents, Monty and Helen Patterson, requested the law be named for their daughter, stating in a 2003 letter pushing for the law’s approval that, "As parents, we cannot allow our beautiful Holly’s horrible death to be in vain. RU-486 has caused serious injury and has been implicated in the deaths of other young women. Now it has killed our daughter."
The couple also expressed their disappointment in a government regulation system that failed to do its job.
"The FDA has failed to carry out its mission of ensuring RU-486 is a safe and effective abortion drug regimen," they wrote. "According to the FDA, it is ‘responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.’ Holly has already paid the ultimate price."
Smith and his colleagues are now asking the FDA to act responsibility and admit the drug was never thoroughly tested.
"RU-486 was pushed through the approval process under intense political pressure during the Clinton Administration," he explained, "which shows clear and apparent negligence" on the part of the FDA to allow this "untested and very lethal drug to be brought to the market."
Smith said the FDA regulation was set aside and instead, RU-486 approval was expedited in what would normally be seen as an "extreme procedure" used only in emergency situations to save lives — something RU-486 definitely does not do.
Not only does the drug kill, negative side effects include "hemorrhaging, infections … lives destroyed," Schmidt pointed out during her remarks.
But Planned Parenthood, the drug’s biggest proponent, continues to insist the drug does more good than harm while the FDA continues to turn look the other way.
"This is a classic case where the politics of abortion has trumped women’s health in America," Pence said.
Franks also commented on "abortion politics."
"The reason that we are blind and change a lot of the way we look at RU-486 as opposed to other drugs is because it is associated with abortion," he said. "And you see, we have to blind ourselves to abortion in this country because we’ve had, in this short time since Roe v. Wade, 45 million abortions, 45 million dead children and it is hard for society to face that. It’s hard for this generation to realize, and to really admit that we have presided over the greatest human holocaust in the history of mankind. That’s difficult to do. But to ignore it is to only exacerbate it."
In the Senate, Republicans Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) have co-sponsored the RU-486 Suspension and Review Act (S. 511), which would suspend sales of RU-486 until the pill, and its process of approval, can be more thoroughly scrutinized.