August 17, 2015

Pro-life groups and at least one pro-life member of Parliament have condemned Health Canada's July 29 approval of abortion drug RU-486 or


The Catholic Civil Rights League, Campaign Life Coalition, Canadian Physicians for Life and are among groups calling on Health Minister Rona Ambrose to overrule the decision.

"I am extremely disappointed that Health Canada would see this as acceptable to Canadians," said Conservative MP David Anderson (Cypress Hills-Grasslands, Sask.).


"It is a dangerous combination of drugs that destroys a woman's tissues in the womb in order to kill her preborn child," Anderson said. "As uterine tissue is chemically degraded, the child dies.

"The second round of drugs is equally aggressive, causing massive muscle spasms and uterine contractions, resulting in the expulsion of the fetus and bleeding."

But Ambrose told journalists July 30 the decision is "out of my hands" and "final."

"It's disturbing," said Christina Alaimo, youth coordinator for the Campaign Life Coalition. "It's just another way to end the life of preborn children."

Taking the drug can be riskier than obtaining a surgical abortion, she said. It also eliminates opportunities for pregnancy counselling centres to reach women.

"Swallowing a pill will make it much more difficult for women to go through options counselling or weighing the pros and cons," Alaimo said.

"Women need access to emergency backup if they are taking the medication," said Dr. Laura Lewis, a board member with Canadian Physicians' for Life and a family physician in Huntsville, Ont.

The idea that women in remote areas who "can't access medical care can self-determine to have an abortion" fails to ensure "appropriate measures are in place so they will have adequate care if things don't go well," Lewis said.

Access to taxpayer-funded abortion is very high in Canada, she said. Women over 12 can self-refer to get as many abortions as they want.

If unplanned pregnancies and lack of access to medical care are still a problem in rural areas, then more resources and pregnancy support centres need to be provided, she said.


Many people will end up taking the drug unsupervised, Lewis said. "There is a potential the pills will be used in a way they are not prescribed to be used."

In Florida, a pregnant woman's boyfriend gave her the drug after telling her it was an antibiotic, she said.

A 2011 FDA report on RU-486 reported 14 women had died in the United States since it was introduced, she said. Another 339 women required transfusions for blood loss and another 256 developed infections.


The Catholic Civil Rights League raised concerns over the lack of public hearings for the drug and media reports referring to mifepristone as the "gold standard" in abortion drugs.

"Instead of referring to gold standards in an industry that claims the lives of 100,000 Canadians each year, we ought to be working together to give women in crisis pregnancies real options and supports for their babies, not easier carefree ways to assist in the loss of life, particularly when it may not be in the best interests of their own health as well."

The drug is expected to be available in Canada in January.