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OTTAWA, August 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Buried deep in Health Canada’s recent decision to bring the abortion drug commonly known as RU-486 into Canada is the acknowledgement that the product is responsible for the deaths of an unspecified number of women.

“Rare cases of fatalities were reported,” states Health Canada’s regulation for the combination abortion drug being released under the name Mifegymiso.

Health Canada confirmed to LifeSiteNews that on September 4, 2001, a “death was reported in a clinical trial with mifepristone and misoprostol, the active ingredients in Mifegymiso (RU 486) in Canada.”

The arm of the government responsible for national public health stated in its July 29 Regulatory Decision that because of the risk of death, the labeling on the product must warn women to use the drug only if they have access to nearby medical emergency care.

While it is not unusual for drugs approved for the Canadian market to include the risk of death, the approval of this drug with its death risk factor is all the more startling given that it is not administered to stop sickness, disease, or infection, but to stop a small human fetus from continuing the natural process of flourishing inside her mother’s womb.

In other words, Health Canada has approved a drug to be given to a perfectly healthy woman to end a perfectly natural process, and to risk death in doing so.

Christina Alaimo of Campaign Life Coalition Youth, who is completing post-graduate studies in Health Care Ethics, called it “unfathomable” that Health Canada would “ignore the implications of its own acknowledgement that use of this drug has led to fatalities,” especially since the drug is what she called “medically unnecessary.”

“Simply put, in ethics the guiding principle should be ‘if it ain't broke don't fix it.’ Women will be putting themselves at risk of negative side effects when there is no necessity to take the medication to begin with. They are undergoing this process to end the life of their preborn child. Pregnancy is neither an illness or a disease so why would one take medication to stop a natural bodily function?” she told LifeSiteNews.

Taking the abortion drug is not as simple as the woman popping a pill and forgetting she was ever pregnant. Health Canada describes it as a painful and bloody process that often is accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and weakness.

A Mifegymiso abortion involves two drugs that unnaturally alter the woman’s body so she becomes chemically toxic to the new life within. Mifepristone, a synthetic steroid taken orally, blocks her hormone progesterone. This shuts down her pregnancy-sustaining mechanism with the result that the developing baby, deprived of necessary life-support, starves to death and becomes detached from her uterine wall. Misoprostol, given a day or so later, initiates powerful uterine contractions that cause the woman to expel her dead baby. Health Canada has stipulated that the drug be given to women seven weeks pregnant and under.

A preborn baby at seven weeks is about half an inch in size and has already developed a brain, internal organs, eyes, as well as arms and legs that have little buds of fingers and toes. The baby’s heart has already been beating for about three weeks. No matter how ‘safe’ Health Canada has deemed the drug to be for women, it is never safe for the developing fetus that it targets.

The abortion drug has been directly linked to the deaths of more than a dozen U.S. women and a number of women internationally (here, here, here, and here). It may be only a matter of time before the drug begins to claim the lives of unsuspecting Canadian women, especially those in rural areas where access to adequate emergency care may be severely limited.

Risk factors have prompted Health Canada to establish that only physicians can dispense the drug. In spite of Health Canada’s list of “serious complications” that can arise in patients who take the drug, the country’s pro-abortion opinion makers are already campaigning to have the regulations broadened.

“Mifegymiso should be available over the counter,” wrote pro-abortion columnist Heather Mallick in The Star two days after the drug was approved. Mallick criticized the involvement of doctors in administering the drug.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Executive Director Joyce Arthur told LifeSiteNews that the drug’s regulations are too stringent and that they exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

“A pre-abortion ultrasound and follow-up visits are not always medically necessary, depending on circumstances and doctor discretion. The follow-up visit in particular could be a huge barrier for women who have to travel for care or who do not have a family physician. Also, mifepristone is proven to be safe and effective up to 11 weeks of pregnancy, but Health Canada’s regimen is limited to 7 weeks, which may further limit access.”

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“However, we’re very happy that Mifegymiso has finally been approved, and we’re hopeful that once it’s been in use for awhile, its use can be expanded and the regimen adjusted to meet the evidence-based guidelines set by the WHO,” she said.

Alaimo told LifeSiteNews that in the face of the abortion lobby's mantra for increased ‘ease of access,’ Health Canada’s regulations will “inevitably mean nothing.”

Instead of reporting on how the combination drug destroys the life of the baby and what risks to the mother are involved, mainstream media has largely convinced the public that introducing the drug is good for women and good for Canada. The job has been done so well that a Forum Research poll from last week found that a majority of Canadians favor the approval.

Sixty-two percent of 1,399 randomly selected adults approved of the drug when asked: “The abortion pill RU-486 has been approved for use in Canada. Do you approve or disapprove of this?”

Forum Research President Dr. Lorne Bozinoff said the poll indicates that the “public recognizes RU 486 is a way to safely terminate a pregnancy early, without resorting to a traditional D&C.”

But Natalie Sonnen, director of Life Canada, criticized the poll for asking a question that she said misses what is actually at issue. She said if the poll had been worded to include the fact that Health Canada admits women have died after taking the abortion drug and the fact that it destroys the life of a pre-born baby, the results would have been different.

“It’s an unfair question to just throw out there without any information,” she told LifeSiteNews, adding that Forum Research framed the question with no information to get the response they wanted.

“I think that kind of information should have been stated in the poll in order to be fair to the public,” she said.

LifeSiteNews asked Minister of Health Rona Ambrose how a drug could be approved for use in Canada when it has a known track record of killing women, but no response was given by press time.

The drug is expected to hit the market sometime next spring.