RU-486, commonly distributed as Mifepristone, is a prescription pill used to take the life of the unborn child that is generally effective during the first 50 days of pregnancy created by the French pharmaceutical company Roussel Uclaf in the 1980s. It is usually used in conjunction with a second drug, misoprostol, to ensure effectiveness and remove the deceased baby from the uterus.
RU-486 works by repressing the woman's production of progesterone, the chemical which is responsible for the lining of the uterus which allows the unborn child to be nourished. Without progesterone, the pregnancy is literally put into forced shut-down, and the unborn baby starves to death.
Shortly after RU-486 is administered, the woman is usually given another drug, misoprostol. This drug causes the uterus to expel its contents, including the body of the unborn child. Interestingly enough, the owner of misoprostol warned that the drug should not be used for abortion.
The most common side effects are exhaustion, abdominal pain, vomiting, and vaginal bleeding.
Other side effects included bacterial infection, pelvic inflamitory disease, and severe bleeding. In the original tests, 2% of the women involved hemorrhaged. One woman lost so much blood she would most likely have died without emergency surgery.
Complications reported to the FDA since it approved RU-486 include two fatalities and 20 near-fatal complications, including a heart attack, two cases of systemic bacterial infection in 15 year olds, and several hospitalizations for hemorrhaging.
Nearly all the safety precautions the FDA knew were necessary to protect women from being injured or killed by RU-486―which are required in other countries―were dropped under political pressure.
chemical structure of RU-486