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DeMint Statement on New RU-486 Deaths

Location: Washington, DC

DeMint Statement on New RU-486 Deaths
Senator Calls on Congress to Suspend Deadly Drug

July 20th, 2005 - Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called on Congress to pass S. 511, the RU-486 Suspension and Review Act, upon learning that two more American women have died after taking the deadly abortion pill. At least 600 additional women have experienced adverse events from RU-486 including 200 that were either life-threatening or extremely serious.

"If there were any doubts about the deadly effects of this drug before, there should not be any now," said Senator DeMint. "The FDA's acknowledgment of these new deaths clearly indicates a serious problem with the drug's safety. Congress must act quickly to suspend this drug before more women die."

The FDA said yesterday that the drug's label will be changed to warn women and doctors to watch out for signs of an unusual infection that is not always accompanied by fever.

Senator DeMint responded by saying, "A change in labeling is simply not enough to protect the health and safety of women. Congress needs to act to take this deadly drug off the market and force a serious review of its safety - something that should have been done before it was ever approved. The FDA skipped important steps in its approval and, as a result, women have died."

Earlier this year, Senator DeMint introduced the "RU-486 Suspension and Review Act," which now has 9 cosponsors in the Senate and 69 in the House. The bill is commonly known as "Holly's Law," named after 18-year-old Holly Patterson who died in 2003 from an RU-486 drug-induced abortion. According to the coroner's report, Holly Patterson died within a week as a result of taking the drug. Senator DeMint's legislation would suspend RU-486 from the market until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducts an independent review of the FDA's approval process, which was used to declare the drug "safe and effective."

RU-486 was originally approved by the Clinton Administration in September of 2000 under a special "restricted distribution" approval process reserved only for drugs that treat "severe or life-threatening illnesses," like cancer and AIDS. There are now four known deaths due to infection caused by this drug, occurring between September 2003 and June 2005.

"RU-486 is a deadly pesticide that is killing pregnant women," said DeMint. "This drug should never have been approved, and it must be suspended immediately."

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