It was neither. The patient's husband quickly informed Louviere that she was part of a clinical trial of RU-486, the French abortion pill, through Planned Parenthood in Des Moines. The woman had lost over half of her blood, and Louviere immediately took her into surgery for treatment. After two days of recovery and the transfusion of four units of blood, the woman went home, shaken, but with no long-term complications.
Such rare but harrowing cases may decide the final fate of RU-486, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved last fall as "safe and effective." While the sole American distributor, Danco Laboratories, reports heavy initial demand, abortion-pill critics seek to impose distribution restrictions that the FDA examined but declined to adopt. Ultimately, they hope that the new administration of President Bush, which is sympathetic to prolife concerns, will halt the drug's use over safety concerns.
"Regardless of whether you're prochoice or prolife, there are some significant public-health concerns related to the approval and use of this," says W. David Hager, M.D., director of the Women's Care Center of Lexington, Kentucky, and a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ...1
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