Guilt by abortion association

Could RU-486 help treat, like, everything? We may never know.

Published June 11, 2008 6:45PM (EDT)

A drug that could help treat ovarian cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis, not to mention depression, Alzheimer's, glaucoma, ulcers and brain tumors? Hey! We should definitely look into that!

Yep, we should. Problem is, that drug is mifepristone (RU-486), which ... well, you know. So it's quietly become, in a way (and as predicted), the stem-cell research of women's health.

"This drug has the potential to make women healthier in many ways," Amy Allina, program director of the National Women's Health Network, told WeNews yesterday. "But the politics surrounding it have made it difficult to secure funding for more research, and scientists are shying away from studying the drug because they fear getting research protocols approved will be difficult."

They also simply can't get their hands on enough of it for large-scale studies. It's now available to American researchers from only one small U.S. supplier. Doctors reportedly still haven't even been able to thoroughly investigate questions raised by the deaths of several women in 2006 who'd been prescribed the drug for non-surgical abortion. (Experts do say that the deadly bacterium involved has killed more women who did not take mifepristone.)

But rock star Dr. Susan Wood, who resigned from the top post at the FDA over the agency's ridonkulous dithering over emergency contraception, suggests that all this could change ... if we vote early and often. "A new presidential administration could change the atmosphere at the National Institutes of Health, which funds medical research, and the FDA, which oversees it," she told WeNews. "A new administration has the potential to reduce the hesitancy that government and private funders might have about mifepristone."

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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