By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, September 20, 2006 ( – Pro-life US Senator Jim DeMint has vowed to block President Bush’s nomination of acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Andrew Von Eschenbach, until the agency pulls the medical abortion drug RU-486 off the market according to Jim Rosen of the Washington Bureau.

The South Carolina republican insists that he will resist von Eschenbach’s nomination to head the FDA until the acting commissioner demonstrates real concern for women’s health by removing RU-486 from market circulation. The abortion inducing drug has caused death in at least 8 women, besides hundreds of severe life-threatening complications.

“Any other drug would have been removed from the market,” DeMint said Tuesday in an interview at the Capitol reports Rosen. “Since this drug was approved, the FDA has removed nine products from markets where there were adverse reactions, not even deaths.”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is expected to approve von Eschenbach’s nomination today and send it to the full Senate for a vote, although any senator may place a hold on full consideration by the Senate.

Since the drug’s approval 4 years ago, the FDA’s “adverse event reporting” for RU-486 (Mifepristone) reveals at least 607 serious adverse events from use of the drug. Complications from the abortion drug have resulted in at least 8 deaths and 513 cases of women requiring surgery with 235 emergency surgeries due to complications from the chemical abortifacient. Mifepristone is also suspected in the deaths of four California women, who died from a bacterial infection of C. sordelli, a generally harmless bacterium.

However, DeMint also raised another serious issue: that the FDA holds a double standard for abortion drugs substantially at odds with its standard regulation of other drugs.

“[RU-486] is manufactured in a plant in China that has not been inspected by the FDA since the product was first approved, and yet the same FDA says we cannot import from Canada safe drugs that are made in this country to lower the price of drugs for seniors,” DeMint stated.

Recently, Senate Democrats dropped their opposition to von Eschenbach after the FDA approved “Plan-B”, an abortifacient “emergency contraceptive” for dual over-the-counter and prescription status. The move caused an outcry from pro-life advocates, who charged that von Eschenbach showed a willingness to play politics with women’s lives by permitting high doses of contraceptive hormone, far higher than prescription doses requiring doctor’s supervision.

“Sen. DeMint believes that a qualified FDA nominee would publicly discourage [Mifeprex’s] use and take immediate steps to remove it from the market,” said DeMint’s press secretary, Wesley Denton according to the New York Times. “We’ve reached a breaking point here, and the senator’s not going to budge until they wake up over at FDA.”

See Related LifeSite Coverage:

FDA Reveals 607 Adverse Events Related to RU-486 Abortion, Including Five Deaths

FDA Defends Response to Deadly RU-486 Abortion Drug

FDA Reopens Debate on Over-the-Counter “Morning After Pill”

FDA Commissioner Hearings Begin: Nominee Takes Heat from Both Sides of Abortion/Plan B Debate