Family First NZ says that the extent of complications for Australian women who use the drug RU486 to abort their children should send a warning to health authorities in NZ as they consider applications by Family Planning and others to use the controversial drug.
According to Data released by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia, RU486 failed 14 times, and the abortion had to be completed surgically. An additional 110 cases with “adverse effects” were reported. Reported complications involved retention of placenta remains and other “products of conception.”
“This validates concerns that we expressed when RU486 was first promoted by Family Planning,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Any attempt to suggest that it’s a statistically small number brings into question the ethics of those who promote it and its suitability. Any risks to women should not be reduced to statistics.”
“There is huge concern about the drug’s considerable harmful effects on women’s health. 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, and missed diagnoses of ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube).
“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,’ says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is calling for a ban on RU486, 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 and the very best and safest of those options. They should not be exploited by groups like Family Planning who have a conflict of interest, including a financial conflict of interest,” says Mr McCoskrie.