OTTAWA, Mar 15 ( Despite receiving a letter from Health Canada assuring the company it would receive a fair hearing in Canada for the RU-486 abortion pill, Exelgyn says it will not submit the product for approval here without a formal request from the government. Pro-life forces are relieved at the news. They were outraged at the news of the government department’s active role in the process because the Canadian Food and Drug Act says it is illegal for Health Canada to ask a company to submit a drug because it would give the perception of bias.

Catherine Euvrard, spokeswoman for Exelgyn, the Paris-based abortion-pill manufacturer, told the Globe and Mail yesterday, ” “This is not an ordinary drug because abortion can be so controversial. We have to have a request for the drug, and we have never had a request from Canada.” Pro-lifers are cautious in rejoicing over the news since the sincerity of the company is at best suspect. It is also probably not beyond Allan Rock’s Department to find another way to encourage Exelgyn to come to Canada if they are committed to doing so.