Life Marriage & Family Religious Liberty


14 Lives Matter

Posted in Life on: July 28th, 2011
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Holly Patterson had just celebrated her 18th birthday. The bright, energetic young woman who had just completed high school one year ahead of schedule had so much to live for.  After finding out she was pregnant, Holly and her boyfriend went to a local Planned Parenthood clinic where Holly was given abortion medication.  Over the next several days, Holly found herself in agony. With only pain pills and an anti-nausea drug to abate the symptoms of a growing and deadly infection, her health began to deteriorate. Weak,nauseated, and vomiting her medications, she was rushed to a local ER where she would hours later succumb to an immense reproductive tract infection – twenty minutes before her scheduled follow-up appointment with Planned Parenthood. So much that could have been was lost. Were it not for the hollow promise of a “safe” medication abortion, Holly would still be here today.

Brenda Vise was a 38-year-old, experienced pharmaceutical representative, knowledgeable in side effects and managing risks to medications.  Brenda traveled to an abortion clinic after testing positive for pregnancy, but a clinic ultrasound failed to confirm the pregnancy and she was told the baby had not reached a size viewable on an ultrasound.  She was then given the typical abortion medication regimen and sent home from the clinic.  It wasn’t long before Brenda began to experience excessive bleeding and severe pain. Her symptoms prompted her to phone the abortion clinic and she was promptly told that the side effects she was experiencing were “normal and routine.” Only three days after her initial visit to the clinic, Brenda was rushed to a hospital where doctors determined she had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.  Unfortunately, the diagnosis came too late. Brenda slipped into a coma and passed away later that evening.

Proponents of medication abortion are dismissive of women like Holly and Brenda. They say these deaths are just a “miniscule number.” They’re quick to quote statistics and hastily conclude RU-486 is a safe method to end pregnancies. However, these deaths are not trivial for the families of Holly and Brenda.

Moreover, the statistics that abortion proponents rely on betray truth and common sense. The average woman loses four times more blood during a medication abortion than she would lose in a surgical abortion. It doesn’t take formal medical education to know that excessive and extensive bleeding is a precursor to a variety of dangerous and life-threatening conditions. The bleeding induced by medication abortions has forced thousands of women into hospital stays for blood transfusions and infections, all from a pill that they were told was “safe.”

In a recent, unceremoniously published document, the FDA now reports that in the short time medication abortion has been approved for use in the United States, 14 women have died – Holly, Brenda, and twelve other women who have their own stories. The truth is that there are two lives that enter an abortion clinic, and each has a profound and inherent value.  Statistics should never be used to soften the reality of the lives that have been claimed at the hands of RU-486. They should instead renew for us the true gravity of public policy as it pertains to medication abortion and our society’s solemn duty to protect life.

Posted by Deborah Sheasby

Deborah is Legal Counsel at Center for Arizona Policy. She works to advance CAP’s mission through advocacy at the Capitol and in the courts. Deborah has a heart for all of CAP's issues, but was drawn to the movement because of her belief in school choice, and the value of empowering parents to make educational decisions for their kids.


One Response

  1. James B says:

    The report states that over 1.5 million women have used milfeprisone since April 2011 and of the 14 women that have died 6 most likely wasn’t due to the drug, including drug overdose and homicide. The FDA own reports says that the other deaths may not have been caused by milfeprisone due to lack of information. Of course, any lose of life is tragic but compared to many other drugs used regularly this one seem fairly safe.

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