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Abortion Pill Ruled Out in One of Two Recent Deaths

April 11, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Health officials said Monday they have ruled out the abortion pill RU-486 in connection with one of two recent deaths of women who had taken the drug. The second death remains under investigation.

The one death was unrelated to either abortion or RU-486, the Food and Drug Administration said. One of the women died weeks after her abortion, but it was not immediately clear which one. The woman whose death is still under investigation showed symptoms of infection.

Four other women have died of a rare but deadly infection after undergoing pill-triggered abortions.

In those four deaths, all involving Californians, the women tested positive for Clostridium sordellii, a common but rarely fatal bacterium.

The FDA has warned doctors to watch for infection by the bacterium. But the abortion drug, also called Mifeprex or mifepristone, has not been proved to be the cause in any of those cases, the FDA has said.

The recent deaths have sparked renewed calls to ban the abortion pill.

Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have urged passage of legislation that would suspend sales of RU-486. They want the Government Accountability Office to review how the FDA approved the pill.

The agency approved RU-486 in 2000 for use in ending a pregnancy up to 49 days after the beginning of the most recent menstrual cycle.

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