Lawmakers Seek to Halt Use of RU-486

Anti-abortion lawmakers are preparing to renew their fight to halt sales of the abortion pill RU-486 (search) after a California woman's death was linked to the pill.

Rep. Jim DeMint (search), R-S.C., said at least four dozen lawmakers are backing a bill he planned to introduce Thursday that would suspend the Food and Drug Administration (search)'s approval of the use of RU-486, also called mifepristone, pending an audit by the congressional General Accounting Office.

"This is all about the health of women and getting women the right information about a drug that is clearly dangerous," DeMint said.

The legislation was to be introduced the day after President Bush signed into law a ban on a procedure called partial-birth abortion by its opponents.

Abortion opponents have long sought to overturn the FDA's approval of the drug in 2000, contending the approval sidestepped FDA regulations. The FDA has defended the approval process.

RU-486 is for women who know they are pregnant and want a nonsurgical abortion. It can be used up to seven weeks after the beginning of a woman's last menstrual period.

Vicky Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, the professional organization for abortion providers in the United States and Canada, said no medical evidence exists that proves mifepristone is unsafe.

"There is absolutely no scientific evidence that would support this legislation. It's politically motivated," Saporta said.

DeMint said he would call his legislation Holly's Law, after Holly Patterson, 18, of Livermore, Calif., who died Sept. 17.

An autopsy determined that Patterson died of septic shock caused by endomyometritis, an inflammation of the uterus. The report says that endomyometritis was caused by a drug-induced abortion.

Although Patterson died just days after initiating an abortion with the drug, the controversial abortion medication was not specifically mentioned in the teen's Cause of Death report.

The California Department of Health Services and the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research are examining Patterson's death.