The abortion drug RU-486 is not only killing babies but also mothers, according to a report issued by the Food and Drug Administration.
According to the FDA report:
• Fourteen women died after taking the drug.
• More than 600 women had to be hospitalized, with more than half requiring major blood transfusions.
• The drug also led to serious or severe infections in 256 patients.
• Overall, more than 2,200 women reported serious medical problems from RU-486.
"I think there's a huge industry behind this abortion drug, and so I don't suspect it will be pulled from the market despite the fact that it's not good for women's health," said Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.
"Women have a right to know what it does, and they're not being told the truth," she said.But the problems don't end there. Abortion businesses have also misused the drug.
In 58 cases, abortion doctors gave RU-486 to patients who had an ectopic pregnancy even though the FDA explicitly warns against doing so.
FDA Downplaying Report?
There are also complaints about how the FDA handled the release of the report. It was given to a senator who requested it but was not made public or posted on the agency's website.
"It really wasn't released into the media," Mandi Campbell, an attorney with the Liberty Counsel, said. "We don't hear a lot of mainstream media talking about this issue, talking about how abortions do kill women."
"If you think about it, that would really put a halt to the business, if women were informed and educated about the side effects of drugs like RU-486, and really the procedures as well," she added.
RU-486 works during the first three months of pregnancy by blocking the production of progesterone. That hormone supplies the lining of the uterus with critical nutrients needed to keep the baby alive.
Without it, the baby starves to death, detaches from the wall of its mother's womb and exits her body.
A New Drug in Town
Meanwhile, there's a new drug on the market, called Ella that was just released last year and is very similar to RU-486.
Critics worry it will also harm women, and they're concerned about the way it's marketed.
The FDA calls Ella a contraceptive because it prevents the fertilized egg from ever attaching to the uterus.
But since pro-life advocates believe pregnancy begins when the egg is fertilized, they consider Ella an abortion drug. They also say it needs to be tested in higher doses.
"It has the exact same chemical compound and mechanism of action as RU-486, so in other words it can also work post-implantation," Monahan explained.
"So even by the Food and Drug Administration's own wrong definition of when life begins, this drug is an abortion drug," she said. "But they labeled it as an emergency contraceptive."
While the government and drug companies might try to blur the line between contraception and abortion, it's important to know the facts.
Studies show that many women who are willing to take contraceptives clearly draw the line at taking an abortion drug.
This story originally aired on Friday, January 6, 2012.