Controversy, Confusion Surround FDA’s Extension of Abortion Pill’s Usage

12 May, 2016



A controversial decision by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ignited a fresh debate on abortion. The FDA’s ruling involves the abortion pill Mifeprex (also known as RU-486), the brand name for the drug mifepristone. The drug stops production of the hormone progesterone, which is essential to sustain pregnancies.

Previously, Mifeprex was recommended for up to 49 days into a pregnancy. The FDA changed the time period to 70 days. Essentially, the FDA recommendation expands the pill’s abortion window from 7 weeks to 10 weeks.

Abortion supporters – most notably (and vocally) Planned Parenthood – hailed the FDA’s decision as a victory for women’s health rights. But abortion adversaries, including Americans United for Life, claimed the new guideline poses additional risks for women.

Critics of the FDA announcement are also concerned with the 43% increase of the “acceptable” time period which a woman can choose to abort her baby.


Mifeprex Abortion Pill’s Impact on Women’s Health

Mifeprex is the latest in a long line of pills that critics call “chemical abortion” methods. Controversy regarding the FDA’s ruling aside, there are hard facts about Mifeprex that aren’t up for debate. The pill can cause a serious assortment of side effects, some of which are classified as medical emergencies. Mifeprex side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate / heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Fever (over 100 degrees)
  • Prolonged heavy bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain

Given all the potential side effects (both frequency and severity), Mifeprex can be prescribed only through controlled, carefully administered medical qualification. Called a “Mifeprex REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy),” this restricted plan is designed to not only optimize drug performance, but also limit Mifeprex exposure to those women with pre-existing conditions that could aggravate and amplify the drug’s side effects.

With the FDA’s decision to extend the acceptable use time of Mifeprex to 10 weeks, there are other adverse effects you should be concerned with. The extra 3 weeks increases the chance that women may suffer from:

  • Mild pelvic discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Back pain (upper and lower back)
  • Fatigue
  • Hives
  • Facial swelling (including cheeks, lips, tongue, etc.)

With increased chemical abortions on the rise, women should know about all the health risks involved. Over 20% of all pregnancies end in abortion. For unintended pregnancies, that figure nearly doubles to 40%. The FDA’s ruling will most likely increase the number of abortions even more. With Mifeprex use now greater than ever, both mild and life-threatening side effects demand serious consideration.

Abortion Pill Reversal

What if you’ve taken Mifeprex, but then decide you’d like to keep your baby? There is a procedure known as abortion pill reversal that is designed to negate the effects of RU-486. How does an abortion pill reversal work?

  • First, the drug Cytotec should be avoided. Cytotec (also known as misoprostol) is used to force baby out of the uterus. Abortion pill reversals are very difficult ifCytotec has already been administered.
  • An ultrasound is performed to determine health of baby
  • Immediate regimen of progesterone medication begins (progesterone is a hormone necessary to carry a baby full-term)

Spotting, severe cramps and other abnormal signs should be discussed with a physician. Clinical research has shown there are no known links between the abortion pill reversal procedure and birth defects. Abortion pill reversal does offer hope for your unborn baby.


Looking Down the Road: Future Implications of the FDA’s Ruling

Will the FDA amend its decision in the future? Nobody knows for sure, but their track record suggests the 70-day period is here to stay. The FDA rarely reverses their own guidelines. Only in the face of severely negative PR – in this scenario, potential future deaths or disabilities caused by Mifeprex – will the FDA retract a prior procedure.

Bottom line: the FDA’s declaration on Mifeprex’s acceptable period of use is regarded as a setback for abortion opponents, including Turning Point. Any time there is talk of a “significant step forward for science” in regards to women’s health issues, it’s usually a step backward for unborn children.


The Role of Turning Point: How We Can Help

The risks of using Mifeprex are real, and Turning Point is here to both educate and support women. We provide quality medical care and practical advice here at the Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center. We won’t turn away a woman who has either had an abortion or is considering one (including the use of Mifeprex). We provide compassionate counsel for all women in San Diego County, regardless of their circumstances.

Despite government legislative changes, the Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center is here to help San Diego County women facing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Political battles, funding cuts and budgetary restrictions have no impact on our non-profit pregnancy clinic.  Real advice for real people – this philosophy and life-affirming values define Turning Point. If you’re not sure where to find answers to your questions, we can help. Call us today at 858-397-1970.