Is the RU-486 Abortion Pill Unhealthy for Women?

Is the RU-486 Abortion Pill Unhealthy for Women?

Health Canada recently approved the use of the abortion pill RU-486.  But how will this affect the health of Canadian women? 

How is This Abortion Different?

It is important to understand that a chemically-induced abortion is essentially a woman performing an abortion on herself.  With surgical abortions, women may not physically see the remains of the aborted fetus. However with a pill, the woman is responsible for administering the drug and left to witness the exertion of the fetus.  What are the psychological consequences to these protocols?


What is Mifepristone?

RU-486 which is referred to as Mifepristone is a chemically-induced abortion pill made in combination with misoprostol which is an antiprogesterone.  Progesterone, a steroid hormone, plays an active role in maintaining pregnancy by preparing the uterus for implantation of the embryo and pregnancy cannot continue without it. Misoprostol induces uterine contraction leading to the premature delivery of the fetus.


Mifepristone is also an anti-glucocorticoid which has the potential to diminish the immune response and causes a woman to be susceptible to infections.

Side effects associated with this type of chemically-induced abortion are many: nausea, vomiting, severe stomach pain and bleeding, infection, uterine perforation or rupture, as well as, undetected ectopic pregnancy.  One major study found 9% of women who undergo chemically-induced abortions suffer emergency complications. 

In Canada, during the testing trials of mifepristone-misoprostol in 2006, eight deaths were reported due to toxic shock associated with a clostridium sordellii (bacterial infection).  Another major systematic analysis of morbidity and mortality of mifepristone found that infection and hemorrhaging were the leading complications of death.

In addition, chemically-induced abortions (RU-486) are subject to failure.  In such cases, infants who survive are at risk of developing Mobius syndrome, a congenital neurological disorder associated with facial paralysis.  Women’s future health risks also need to be considered. Studies show there are risks of infertility and prematurity in subsequent pregnancies.

Abortion Procedure:

RU-486 is not instantaneous. Generally 72 hours elapse after the woman consumes the first dose of the pill and the “forced miscarriage” occurs.  Most women are told that there is no stopping the impending abortion once they have started this drug. However Dr. George Delgado, medical director of Culture of Life Family Services in San Diego, has successfully found that high doses of progesterone can override RU 486 if given soon enough after the first half of the abortion cocktail. Will Canadian women be informed about their right and ability to access this available medication? 

Overall, there are numerous life-threatening health risks associated with this “gold standard of [medical] abortion care” that women have the right to know before considering such treatment. A women contemplating a drug induced abortion, is often alone, unsupported, and vulnerable.  Has health Canada been pressured to override the health and well-being of women in Canada?


Sourced from: Lanfranchi, Angela, and I. J. Gentles. Complications: Abortion's Impact On Women. Toronto, 2013. Print.