OTTAWA, January 30, 2014 ( – The New Democrat Party (NDP) suspects that what it calls the “Conservative-driven agenda” is stalling Health Canada’s review of Mifepristone (RU-486) that would allow pregnant mothers to chemically abort their unborn children.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair went after Conservative Health Minister Rona Ambrose earlier this week, warning her not to interfere with the drug’s current review process.

“I know that Madame Ambrose has a history on this particular file,” he said, pointing to Ambrose’s support in 2012 for Motion 312, which would have established a parliamentary committee to examine when human life begins. “I hope that her personal opinions are not stopping a health solution for some women who want to have [a medical abortion],” he told CBC.


Mulcair called the pill “part of a woman's right to choose.” “I certainly hope that the Conservative-driven agenda isn't what's stopping this from being looked at within the normal time frame.”

NDP MP Niki Ashton also went after Ambrose in the House of Commons yesterday.

“We know that the Minister of Health and many of her colleagues have a strong anti-choice record. Can the minister assure this House that an ideological agenda is not behind the delay in approval of RU-486?” she said.

Ambrose replied that her department's scientists are simply doing their job.

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“Drug approval decisions are made by Health Canada scientists, not by ministers or politicians. In terms of any delays or timing when it comes to a review of drug submissions, they vary depending on the information that is provided by the manufacturer itself,” she said.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published an article in November stating that an application to bring Mifepristone into Canada was submitted in 2012 by an unnamed pharmaceutical company. Drug reviews usually take about nine months, but can take longer if more information is required from the manufacturer.

A freedom of information request to Health Canada by yielded no information about the name of the pharmaceutical company submitting the RU-486 application, nor the commercial name of the Mifepristone pill it seeks to bring into Canada.

Health Canada did say however that its scientists are currently conducting a “scientific review” of the abortion drug. If it meets the “requirements of the regulations, an authorization may be issued,” it said.

Jakki Jeffs, Executive Director of Alliance for Life Ontario, has slammed Mifepristone as the “chemical coat hanger abortion” for the violence it inflicts on women, including profuse bleeding that has resulted in death.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a 2011 report listed 2207 adverse reactions to Mifepristone. Over 600 women were hospitalized, 339 experienced blood loss that required transfusions, 256 had infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, pelvic infections with sepsis, with 48 being severe. The drug was linked to 14 deaths.

Clinical trials of Mifepristone in Canada were shelved in 2001 after a Vancouver woman died of toxic shock.

Concerned groups across the country, including a group of doctors, have condemned Mifepristone for the documented harm it causes to women and for the slow painful death it inflicts on unborn children.

Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada’s pro-life political organization, announced earlier this month that the theme for this year’s National March for Life will be “RU-486, or RU-4LIFE?”

CLC launched an online petition, now signed by over 2,400 people, asking Health Minister Ambrose to keep the drug out of Canada. 


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