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Group Conducts Abortion Pill Study in Secrecy

October 28, 1994|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Fearful of violence, a research organization is conducting the first nationwide study of the French abortion pill RU 486 without saying where the work is being done or how many clinics are participating.

"You may have noticed there are some nuts out there who do bad things to people who deliver abortions," said Dr. C. Wayne Bardin, research director at the Population Council, the nonprofit group sponsoring the study.

More than 100 women have been given the pill since September as part of the $8-million study, which could make the drug routinely available in the United States by 1996, Bardin said.

The availability of RU 486, now called mifepristone, will not be advertised, Bardin said Thursday at a news conference. Women coming to clinics for surgical abortions will be advised, he said.

Immediately after the news conference, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced that its clinics in San Diego; Aurora, Colo.; Cambridge, Mass.; Des Moines; Houston, and Williston, Vt., are participating.

Jane Johnson, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said she did not expect Planned Parenthood's participation to require any additional security.

In July, Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard were shot to death outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla. The National Abortion Federation in Washington has reports of 38 bombings and 91 cases of arson at abortion clinics since 1977.

The RU 486 study is aimed at determining the pill's safety and effectiveness. When it is completed in the spring of 1995, an application for approval will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.

"It is a tragedy that pro-abortion advocates want to use women as guinea pigs," said Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee. "NRLC opposes testing of RU 486 for abortion both because it kills unborn children and because its long-term side effects for women are unknown."

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