Tag Archive for: medication

The ‘Father of the Abortion Pill’ reveals it was always about death

From the beginning of his research Étienne-Émile Baulieu pretended that that the chemical abortion pill was not really abortion.

In a recent profile in the New York Times, reporter Pam Belluck lays out the dark history of the chemical abortion pill. Meant as a glowing profile of Étienne-Émile Baulieu, known as the “Father of the Abortion Pill,” the article demonstrates the deception used to commercialize lethal pills that have, to date, killed millions of preborn babies.

Activists try to claim that the chemical abortion pill, now commercially available as Mifepristone, has many functions and benefits and just so happens to cause the death of preborn babies. To hear it from the mouth of the creator, Baulieu, the chemical abortion pill was always intended as an “unpregnancy pill.” From the beginning, he envisioned a pharmaceutical designed to disrupt a healthy pregnancy resulting in a dead child.

Baulieu, now 96, claims to have come up with the idea more than 50 years ago. Already working as a medical doctor and researcher in human hormones, Baulieu worked to develop the chemical abortion pill, also known as RU-486 (because it was the 38,486th molecule developed by the French drug developer Roussel-Uclaf, which had ties to Nazi Germany) .

Recognizing how shocking the chemical abortion pill would be, Baulieu then devoted decades of his life to carefully crafting the marketing of RU-486 to win approval. He succeeded first in several European countries beginning with France in 1988, then, after years of effort and further deception, in the United States in 2000.

To make RU-486 more appealing and overcome people’s moral outrage at killing innocent preborn children, Baulieu tried to distance it from abortion. He invented the word “contragestion” to describe the way that the chemicals counteracted the protective and nurturing effects of progesterone in normal gestation.

According to Baulieu’s misleading description, the chemical abortion pill could be “the middle ground between preventing fertilization and surgically removing a fetus.” There is no meaningful difference: whether a baby’s body is ripped apart by surgical implements or starved to death and forcibly removed from the mother’s womb, elective abortion is the deliberate and unjust ending of a human life.

Deceptive marketing started long before Baulieu began trying to convince health regulators to authorize the use of the lethal pharmaceutical. Belluck is not the first journalist to describe how Baulieu misled pharmaceutical executives in the initial stages of chemical development. Because the head of Hoechst AG, which controlled Roussel-Uclaf, was opposed to abortion, Baulieu pretended that his research into counteracting progesterone was intended to help reduce the effects of cortisol in astronauts in high-stress situations and certain chronic illnesses.

The non-existent distinction between abortion and the chemical abortion pill seems very important to Baulieu and his justification for his actions. According to him, “My intention was to give women a choice that, through a pill, respects their privacy and physical integrity and allows them to totally avoid the aggression of surgery.” This is not reality.

As we witness the continued expansion of the chemical abortion pill in increasingly risky and traumatic contexts, it is all too clear that “self-managed” abortions do not benefit women and do not protect mothers from the reality of ending the lives of their preborn babies. A mother who sees the lifeless body of her baby, small but fully formed, cannot be told that she is simply “unpregnant.” She knows that she is the mother of a dead baby.

Eerily, Baulieu uses an image of a woman he saw begging to justify his deadly work. While visiting India with a group of intellectuals, a woman cradling the body of her dead baby approached him asking for money. Baulieu said: “It really caused an emotion for me, which has persisted all my life. I think always of Calcutta as something which has pushed me to really work hard.” Baulieu may no longer have to see the bodies of the babies mothers have lost when society tells them that they are not worthy of support, but they still exist.

Women are also harmed by RU-486. Updated figures from the Food and Drug Administration indicate that at least 28 women have died from complications of the chemical abortion pill since its approval in 2000. Beyond that, studies show that one-third of women who undergo an abortion using the chemical abortion pill suffer from emotional trauma following the experience. Additionally, complications can result in infertility and other injuries for women.

These devastating outcomes are not surprising given that Baulieu was inspired by the development of the contraceptive pill by his mentor Gregory Pinkus. Pinkus encouraged him to travel to Puerto Rico to see his clinical trials of oral contraceptives, and Baulieu told the New York Times: “When I saw what they were doing in Puerto Rico, it was remarkable for the treatment of women.”

This is a shockingly naïve description given that Pinkus’s notoriously unethical experiments on human subjects in Puerto Rico resulted in serious illness and complications for women who were dismissed and ignored. Three women even died while participating in the trial, but there was no investigation into whether the contraceptive pill contributed to their deaths.

In classical misogynistic fashion, Baulieu claims, “I like women,” but ignores the physical and emotional pain of the women he inflicts his solution on.

Baulieu dismisses accusations that his deadly work is on the scale of Hitler and Stalin. Laughing at the idea, Baulieu uses his Jewish heritage to deflect any criticism. Of course, no one is accusing him of anti-Semitism. The similarity is that Hitler, Mao, Stalin and other tyrants were responsible for millions of deaths because they viewed certain groups of human beings as inferior and thought the solution to their problems was to kill en masse. The chemical abortion pill, RU-486, continues to kill upwards of 500,000 preborn babies in the United States alone each year.

Blind to reality, Baulieu calls the chemical abortion pill “the œuvre I dreamed of with artist friends in New York.” An instrument of death that was intended to kill babies from the very beginning, the chemical abortion pill is synonymous with destruction and injustice.

This article has been republished with permission from ThisIsChemicalAbortion.com.


Anna Reynolds

Anna K. Reynolds is a freelance wordsmith. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Dallas and holds a Master of Arts in theology from Ave Maria University…. More by Anna Reynolds.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

U.S. Judge Exposes the Reek of Politics in the FDA’s Approval of Medication Abortion

What is the future of mifepristone? The Supreme Court may be forced into making another tough decision.

The drug mifepristone is currently responsible for more than half of all abortions in the United States. Now its legality is in doubt after two judges in different courts issued completely different rulings, both on April 7. The issue is clearly headed for the US Supreme Court, which has already found that there is no constitutional right to abortion. For the moment, the drug, mifepristone, is still available, pending appeal.

In Texas, federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk declared that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had improperly approved mifepristone. He banned its use across the country. In the state of Washington, federal judge Thomas Rice ruled that mifepristone should be made available in 17 states and the District of Columbia. The uncertainty is obviously untenable.

The White House issued a fact sheet which described Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision as “dangerous” and said that the President “stands by FDA’s scientific and evidence-based judgment that mifepristone is safe and effective.”

The drug and biotech sectors were outraged. More than 400 leaders of drug and biotech companies—none of whom make mifepristone—signed a statement condemning the Texas decision. The statement said, “Judicial activism will not stop here. If courts can overturn drug approvals without regard for science or evidence, or for the complexity required to fully vet the safety and efficacy of new drugs, any medicine is at risk for the same outcome as mifepristone.”

Media coverage of this dispute is a classic example of blinkered reporting on a divisive issue.

There was almost no analysis of merits of the judges’ legal arguments.

US District Judge Thomas Rice in Washington state, reported the Washington Post, is an Obama appointee. He worked as an assistant US attorney and then in the tax division of the Justice Department. That’s about as much as we know about his background.

The media did a lot more digging on US District Judge Matthew  Kacsmaryk. The New York Times quickly discovered that this hitherto-unknown judge had been appointed by President Trump, that he was a graduate of Abilene Christian University, that he had expressed pro-life views, that he was a conservative, that he opposed LGBTQ+ rights, and that he had worked for a conservative religious foundation, First Liberty Institute. “For Texas Judge in Abortion Case, a Life Shaped by Conservative Causes” was the headline. No word, though, on his favourite pizza — so much for the investigative powers of America’s paper of record.

Judge Rice ordered the federal government to ensure that mifepristone remains available in 17 states and the District of Columbia. I write as a legal layman, of course, but his reasoning seems unremarkable. He accepted assertions by attorneys-general of the states that “the status quo” should be preserved because women would experience severe, irreparable damage if they were unable to obtain abortion pills.

However, buried in his 31-page judgement is an extraordinary comment:

It is not the Court’s role to review the scientific evidence and decide whether mifepristone’s benefits outweigh its risks …. That is precisely FDA’s role. However, based on the present record, FDA did not assess whether mifepristone qualifies for REMS and ETASU [special scrutiny] … Even under a deferential review, it appears FDA failed to consider an important aspect of the problem. Moreover, the record demonstrates potentially internally inconsistent FDA findings regarding mifepristone’s safety profile.

Great minds think alike. This is precisely the nub of Kacsmaryk’s argument. It is a damning indictment of the FDA. He did not use the word “corrupt”, but it springs to mind as he reviews the FDA’s disgraceful behaviour in approving mifepristone. He raises some uncomfortable questions for the abortion industry, the Biden Administration, Big Pharma, and the FDA. It begins:

Over twenty years ago, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved chemical abortion. The legality of the 2000 Approval is now before this Court. Why did it take two decades for judicial review in federal court? After all, Plaintiffs’ petitions challenging the 2000 Approval date back to the year 2002, right?

Simply put, FDA stonewalled judicial review — until now. Before Plaintiffs filed this case, FDA ignored their petitions for over sixteen years, even though the law requires an agency response within “180 days of receipt of the petition.” But FDA waited 4,971 days to adjudicate Plaintiffs’ first petition and 994 days to adjudicate the second. Had FDA responded to Plaintiffs’ petitions within the 360 total days allotted, this case would have been in federal court decades earlier. Instead, FDA postponed and procrastinated for nearly 6,000 days.

This is a key issue – and one which was barely covered in the media. For most journalists, abortion was settled long ago. It is the status quo. Which is precisely the point, contends Kacsmaryk. Delay created the status quo.

Chemical abortion is only the status quo insofar as Defendants’ unlawful actions and their delay in responding to Plaintiffs’ petitions have made it so. The fact that injunctive relief could upset this “status quo” is therefore an insufficient basis to deny injunctive relief.

In short, the FDA pulled every bureaucratic trick in the book to keep opponents of medication abortion from questioning the approval process – “sixteen years of delay, dawdle, and dithering”.

Kacsmaryk is a judge, not a pro-life activist, although he appears to be sympathetic to the arguments about the humanity of unborn children. He is supposed to assess cases on their legal merits. And that is what he did. He was scathing as he exposed some of the FDA’s stratagems for ensuring that mifepristone would be approved with almost no restrictions.

Take, for instance, the provisions of the Comstock Act. Though often criticised and ridiculed, it is still on the books. It declares that certain things cannot be sent by mail: “[e]very article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use…” [emphasis added]. The plain language of the law excludes distribution of medication abortion through the mail.

Consider also the fact that the FDA fudges its statistics about the dangers of mifepristone. Originally abortion doctors were required to report all non-fatal serious adverse effects of the drug. But in 2016, the FDA eliminated that requirement. “FDA repeatedly altered its original decision by removing safeguards and changing the regulatory scheme for chemical abortion drugs,” writes the judge.

… it is circular and self-serving to practically eliminate an “adverse event” reporting requirement and then point to a low number of “adverse events” as a justification for removing even more restrictions than were already omitted in 2000 and 2016. In other words, it is a predetermined conclusion in search of non-data — a database designed to produce a null set. But even if FDA’s explanation[s] were well-reasoned, the actions would still run afoul of the Comstock Act …

Kacsmaryk concludes that the thread which runs through the FDA’s treatment of this controversial drug is truckling to political pressure:

The Court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly. But here, FDA acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns — in violation of its statutory duty — based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions. There is also evidence indicating FDA faced significant political pressure to forego its proposed safety precautions to better advance the political objective of increased “access” to chemical abortion …

On April 7, the day the duelling decisions were handed down, the Oregon Attorney-General, Ellen Rosenblum, crowed on Twitter: “Don’t be too distracted by the breaking news out of Texas—we got a BIG WIN in the case led by Oregon and Washington (and joined by 16 other states).”

Opening the champagne may be premature. If this case goes to the Supreme Court – as seems likely — Kacsmaryk’s forensic dissection of the FDA’s games could be a template for the Roberts Court’s own findings. It exposes the shabby tricks that the FDA has been playing for years to defend an indefensible drug.


Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia. More by Michael Cook.

RELATED ARTICLE: U.S. Supreme Court Extends Hold On Abortion Pill Restrictions

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.