A July 13 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeated right-wing attacks on the "abortion pill" mifepristone, based on a newly released FDA report, but he ignored or downplayed mitigating factors, and he offered no context for the information.
Fourteen women have died in the United States alone and several thousand have experienced an "adverse event" after taking the abortion drug RU-486, according to a "quietly released" government report.
A Food and Drug Administration document, called the "Mifepristone U.S. Postmarketing Adverse Events Summary," is being highlighted by Liberty Counsel, a public interest legal organization that fights on behalf of the right to life, among other issues.
The report reveals the dangers of taking the drug, even though the Abortion Care Network reports on its website that many women "feel that Mifepristone is private and more natural."
Unruh didn't mention that the FDA's data was based on an estimated 1.52 million women in the U.S. who have taken mifepristone, and he didn't mention the report's statement that "These events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of information gaps about patient health status, clinical management of the patient, concurrent drug use and other possible medical or surgical treatments."
Unruh also failed to offer context for how such a rate of adverse events compares to other medications. For instance, taking mifepristone is actually much safer than carrying a pregnancy to term; the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is around 13 per 100,000 live births.
For a comparison with an actual drug, the National Institutes of Health reports that in one clinital trial of the anti-cancer drug Avastin for use in treatingage-related macular degeneration, the rate of adverse events was 24 percent -- much higher than the FDA has identified with mifepristone.
Unruh also muddled the causes of those deaths, writing that "the deaths were blamed on sepsis, the use of drugs, methadone overdose, delayed onset of toxic shock-like syndrome, suspected homicide and ruptured ectopic pregnancies." Are Unruh and his right-wing buddies really going to blame deaths apparently caused by murder or drug overdoses on mifepristone? Removing the drug overdose- and homicide-related deaths, that leaves nine deaths out of 1.52 million women that might possibly be related to mifepristone.
Unruh seems to have based his article on a press release from the right-wing group Liberty Counsel, which makes the same omissions of context and fact that Unruh does.