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Cardinal warns against FDA plans to approve abortifacient Ulipristal

Catholic World News - June 21, 2010

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, warned of the abortifacient nature of a new drug, Ulipristal, in a June 17 letter.

“I am writing because of grave concern over the FDA’s current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an ‘emergency contraceptive,’” the cardinal wrote. “Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect-- that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.”

“This drug is contraindicated for women who are or may be pregnant,” he continued. “Yet its proposed use here is targeted precisely at women who may already have conceived, as it would be administered within five days after ‘unprotected’ sex or contraceptive failure. No existing pregnancy test can exclude the possibility that a new life has been conceived in this time frame. Indeed, advocates praise this drug as an advance precisely because it seems to retain its full efficacy five days after intercourse-- that is, after the opportunity to prevent fertilization has passed.”

“Millions of American women, even those willing to use a contraceptive to prevent fertilization in various circumstances, would personally never choose to have an abortion,” the cardinal added. “They would be ill served by a misleading campaign to present Ulipristal simply as a ‘contraceptive.’ In fact, FDA approval for that purpose would likely make the drug available for ‘off-label’ use simply as an abortion drug-- including its use by unscrupulous men with the intent of causing an early abortion without a woman's knowledge or consent.”

“The Administration’s support for broad access to contraception has been defended as serving the goal of reducing abortions,” he concluded. “Plans for approving a known abortion-causing drug as a ‘contraceptive’ for American women is not consistent with the stated policy of the Administration on these matters.”

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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 22, 2010 5:25 AM ET USA

    Thank you to our Bishops for speaking out on this drug and identifying the numerous and serious issues related to its use. Where are our Catholic doctors who should be speaking out well before this drug gets approval?

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