Now's the Time To Defend Our Borders

Author: Tom Hess


- A pro-life boycott could keep RU 486 out of the U.S.

Tom Hess

RU 486 will be available to American women sometime in 1995. Or will it? Pro-life leaders say the abortion pill's importation from Europe is not a foregone conclusion. In fact, they say that a boycott could succeed in keeping the drug out of the country.

The boycott's targets are all subsidiaries of Hoechst AG, a German company that has more than $7 billion in annual U.S. sales.

RU 486 is expected to enter America by way of The Population Council (TPC) - which asked for and received the RU 486 patent from Hoechst. TPC is familiar with the drug; it sponsored the first U.S. tests of RU 486 at the University of Southern California a decade ago.

The council, founded in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller III, has also developed the contraceptive Norplant; supported China's coercive abortion policy; and called for the distribution of 50 _billion_ condoms worldwide.

TPC expects to receive Food and Drug Administration approval to offer RU 486 in the U.S. in late 1995.

But Focus on the Family believes a boycott could disrupt that timetable.

"Our constituents have participated in a number of boycotts, and in nearly every one, we've seen companies come to the table looking for ways to get out from under the hot lights of a pro-family boycott," said Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy for Focus on the Family. "We're asking our constituents to do it one more time."

Minnery believes that the boycott could persuade Hoechst to withdraw TPC's rights to distribute RU 486 in the U.S.

Focus' partners in the boycott are the National Right to Life Committee, Life Issues Institute, Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Christian Coalition.


RU 486 must be turned back to avoid a sharp rise in the nation's abortion rate, pro-life leaders say.

Planned Parenthood's Guttmacher Institute reported in June that the nation's abortion rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1976. The report said one factor was an 8 percent drop in the number of abortion practitioners. But RU 486's availability in the United States could reverse that trend, according to Curtis Harris, president of the American Academy of Medical Ethics.

"Two-thirds of all abortions are being provided by fewer than 300 physicians, but with RU 486, any family-practice physician or internal-medicine physician - doctors who would not have performed surgical abortion - will provide abortions simply by signing a prescription," Harris said in an interview with Rob Gregory of _Family News in Focus_. "And RU 486 abortions will be a more profitable practice than surgical abortion, when you consider the costs associated with each."

Harris expects that the ease of prescribing RU 486 and the likely increase in the abortion rate will drive a number of physicians to speak out against the drug.

"A number of physicians who believe that the medical profession should be noble and honorable will find it necessary to speak out against abortion altogether," he said.


In its coverage of the RU 486 debate, the American media has forgotten the drug's victims.

One victim is Diane Walkowiak, who died on March 23, 1991, while undergoing an RU 486 procedure in Europe. No major American newspaper or news service has mentioned her name, and only a few have made reference to her death.

Walkowiak is not forgotten by European physicians, however. They no longer use the type of prostaglandin (a drug administered in tandem with RU 486) that caused Walkowiak's death, and they insist on precautions that make the RU 486 procedure more difficult to accomplish than many women imagine.

"A woman has to wait four hours in the medical facility after she takes the prostaglandin, because they're very aware that one woman has died, and that there have been life-threatening heart attacks in two other women," says Richard D. Glasow, Ph.D., education director for National Right to Life Committee. "The French, British and Swedes demand very careful medical supervision."

Glasow says prostaglandins continue to be a primary concern among physicians.

Not only might some American die as a result of an RU 486 procedure, but European experience with the drug suggests that many American women will suffer from a much more dramatic and immediate form of post-abortion syndrome. In the following account published in London's _Evening Standard_ (Dec. 4, 1992, p. 11), a woman writes anonymously about her experience. She says that she had already undergone a surgical abortion, and believed that RU 486 would be far less traumatic:

"I hadn't realized that the pill method would take about four days in all, and that you weren't given pain killers. I took the first three tablets and then went back to work, I felt strange, still felt pregnant, but knew that I was going to lose the baby. About an hour after taking the prostaglandin, I began to bleed. During the day the pain was so strong, it was just like early labor. I remember finally dispelling the fetus, which looked like a sort of white kidney. I presided over the killing of my baby. Psychologically, [abortion by RU 486] hits you much harder than surgical abortion."

Olivia Gans, director of American Victims of Abortion, says few women are braced for the emotional impact of an RU 486 abortion.

"A woman does not start to acknowledge her personal emotional response to this terrible, violent death experience until five years after the fact," Gans said. "But when a woman takes RU 486 with her own hand, how much more devastating and immediate will the emotional response be?"


#1) Boycott the following products, and ask your physician to prescribe alternatives to the following products:

Copley Pharmaceuticals prescription drugs: Albuterol inhalant (asthma) Diltiazem HCL (hypertension) Ethosuximide (convulsions) Clemastine Fumarate syrup (decongestant/antihistamine) Copley Pharmaceuticals over-the-counter drugs: Bromatapp tablets (decongestant/antihistamine) Doxylamine Succinate (sedative) Miconazole Nitrate 2% cream (vaginal fungal infection) Tolnaftate 1% solution (fungal skin infection)

Also ask your physician not to prescribe generic medications manufactured by Copley.

Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals prescription drugs: Altace (hypertension) A/T/S (acne) Claforan (infection) Lasix (diuretic) Loprox (skin infection) Prokine (bone marrow) Topicort (skin rash)

#2) Notify each company's president that you are participating in the boycott: Juergen Dormann, Chairman Hoechst AG 65926 Frankfurt am Main 80 GERMANY

John Herdklotz, President Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals Route 202-206, P.O. Box 2500 Somerville, NJ 08876-1258

Jane C.I. Hirsh, President and Chief Executive Officer Copley Pharmaceuticals 25 John Road Canton, MA 02021-2827

Please note: The boycott supported by Focus on the Family is a direct consumer boycott of products offered by Hoechst AG and its subsidiaries. Focus on the Family does not support a secondary boycott of the products of any other company. _________________________________________________________________ To get information on infonet-list send an empty Email message to the info "droid" at:

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Focus on the Family Citizen Colorado Springs, CO 80995 (719)531-3400

NOTES: Reprinted with permission from Focus on the Family Copyright (C) 1994 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Focus on the Family Citizen is a trademark of Focus on the Family.