Skip to content
Home » News » What is RU-486?

What is RU-486?

What does "RU" stand for?

RU stands for Roussel Uclaf, the manufacturer of the RU-486 pill. Roussel Uclaf is owned by Hoechst A.G., one of several corporations spun off after World War II from the giant I. G. Farben chemical firm, the firm that supplied Hitler with the Zyklon B gas used to kill Jews and Christians in the Third Reich death camps.[1],[2]

What is RU-486?

RU-486 (mifepristone) is a synthetic steroid with very unique anti-hormonal properties. RU-486 is an anti-progesterone, which means that it works against the pregnancy hormone (progesterone) and provokes an abortion of the fetus (little one, baby).

How does RU-486 work?

RU-486 combines with the progesterone present in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and other tissues, and annuls the action of the progesterone. In other words, the endometrium is deprived of the hormone it needs to flourish, and thus it dies, causing the death of the preborn baby as well. This is called abortion.

Where did RU-486 come from?

In April, 1982, after almost twenty years of research, French scientist Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu announced that testing in research centers had been completed in which RU-486 was successfully used to abort the babies of four women within the first four weeks of pregnancy.

Clinical testing continued, and in January, 1988, the French Health Ministry deferred approval of RU-486 when used alone for abortion. The pharmaceutical company, Roussel Uclaf, applied again, this time recommending the use of RU-486 plus a prostaglandin.

According to Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 3 a prostaglandin is a fatty acid derivative present in many tissues and menstrual fluid. A prostaglandin is synthesized in the body from unsaturated fatty acids. Certain prostaglandins have been used as early-abortion chemicals because they act to stimulate uterine contractions and accelerate the abortion process. Their general use for these purposes is limited by a great number of undesired side effects.

However, this new method of use (RU-486 plus a prostaglandin) was approved by the French government in September, 1988, for women five to seven weeks pregnant. The license was issued and the abortions began.

So, now French women can use this pill privately to abort?

No! Following is the schedule that must be followed today in France if a woman wishes to abort using RU-486:

  • She must have a pregnancy test and have the preborn child dated.
  • She must undergo a pelvic exam, a blood test, and an ultrasound exam using an intravaginal probe.
  • After a one-week waiting period, she takes three RU-486 tablets registered under her name and leaves the clinic.
  • 36 to 48 hours later she receives an injection of a synthetic prostaglandin and stays in the clinic for about four hours for monitoring.
  • She returns to the clinic seven days later to ensure that the abortion is complete and to have her bleeding monitored.
  • If the pill has failed, she must have a surgical abortion.[4]

According to some medical reports, the pill fails approximately five percent of the time.[5] Others put the failure rate at ten percent or more.[6]

Is RU-486 safe?

  • RU-486 has also been combined with other chemicals, like sulprostone, in order to make the death of the preborn child more certain. However, it has been reported that when sulprostone is used, the incidence of babies born with malformations (babies who survive the abortion attempt) and the incidence of women dying does increase.[7]
  • An account of an RU-486 abortion done on one American girl, 17 years of age, who traveled to England suggests that there are many "unpleasant side effects, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea." The young woman, Aimee, told the reporter, "I felt like I was dying…it hurt so much. I had contractions coming so fast, and I was sick to my stomach and dry heaving. I couldn't stop trembling and I felt so hot."[8]
  • Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., has commented, regarding the administration of RU-486 plus a prostaglandin backup: "These new drugs are a frightening throwback to barbarism and an ominous harbinger of the deterioration of the health of women and children worldwide. They represent perhaps the greatest threat yet to life, liberty and the family in this generation."[9]
  • In a letter dated April 12, 1990, a group of French health professionals warned of the hazards that RU-486, in combination with the use of other chemicals, posed to women who use it.
  • Dr. Raymond Godefroid, R.Ph., wrote, "Menstrual periods that last an average of 12 days, hemorrhage severe enough to require blood transfusion, and pain in 10% of the patients severe enough to require administration of parenteral narcotics should not be given the 'safe' label…The fact that premeditated pregnancy termination [abortion] is an unnatural and traumatic event, no matter what the modus operandi, makes this antiprogesterone steroid just another abortifacient…"[10]
  • Five cases of congenital malformation were reported in the December 21-28, 1991, edition of The Lancet, a British medical journal.
  • The April 30, 1991, Washington Post (p. 5) reported that the French government banned the use of RU-486 by smokers and women over the age of 35 due to serious complications and the death of one woman.
  • According to a letter by Karen Masulis, R.N., in the May 27, 1991, edition of Nurseweek, most women who use RU-486 "bleed heavily and continue to bleed heavily for 10 days"; "one in 1,000 women bleeds so heavily she requires a transfusion"; "nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea are common side effects" as well.[11]
  • In a June 19, 1991, letter, Dr. Carl Peck of the United States Department of Health and Human Services wrote: "[The] FDA continues to believe that the RU-486 regimen poses an unreasonable safety risk which makes it inappropriate for release under our personal importation policy."

Commenting on a French clinical study done on the "safety" of RU-486 that was reported in the March 8, 1990, New England Journal of Medicine, Herbert Ratner, M.D., stated:

"[The] six authors who conclude that RU-486 with prostaglandin is 'an effective and safe method for the early termination of pregnancy' are all employees of the company that will earn huge profits if RU-486 gets wide acceptance. Controlling bias favoring their company's product is nearly unsurmountable…

"The women were monitored as inpatients for 4 days and then left the center. However 'seventy-five women [out of 2115] did not return for follow-up after they had received prostaglandin analogues' and were dropped out of the study. There is no indication that an attempt was made to track down the delinquents. As epidemiologists know 'it is the patients who drop out of the trials who are much more important than the patients who stay in them.' One wonders, then, whether any had died, or whether some had ended up elsewhere with complications which require a general care facility."[12]

Most shocking is the fact that after only 17 months of animal research conducted in France, the testing of RU-486 was deemed sufficient for it to be tested on women, who became the human guinea pigs for further testing.[13]

Isn't it true that RU-486 helps in treating some diseases?

In April, 1991, Professor Gonzalo Herranz, Professor of Bioethics, University of Navarra, Spain, cited the following potential clinical uses for RU-486:

Though in the early stages of research, it is suggested that RU-486 could be used for the early treatment of Cushing's disease, "a very small number of cases of breast cancer" (objective improvement was seen in 18%), treatment for inoperable meningiomas, assistance in delivery of children when cervical dilation is insufficient, as well as possible treatment for endometriosis.[14]

However, the Institute on Women and Technology study observes, "In the case of breast cancer, Bardon et al., (1985) investigated the potential use of RU-486 to slow the growth of breast cancer…and they found that RU-486 may work as a cytotoxic agent (a cell poison…)."[15]

Researchers have warned that not enough is known about the compound RU-486, and that the inherent dangers to the woman, regardless of her condition, may be far greater than any potential benefit.

You see, no one really knows whether or not RU-486 actually works by poisoning certain cells within the woman's body.

Why are people promoting RU-486 in America?

First of all, under the Clinton/Gore administration, there has been a renewal of commitment to abortion on demand, for any reason whatsoever, and through the ninth month of pregnancy. This is clearly reflected in the Clinton endorsement of the "Freedom of Choice [to kill babies] Act," RU-486 and so many other deadly policies. We must not forget that Dr. David Kessler, who did work in the Food and Drug Administration under President Bush, stayed on and was instrumental in getting the New York-based Population Council and Hoechst A.G. to come to an agreement about bringing RU-486 to this country for "clinical testing."

On May 17, 1994, Roussel Uclaf, the French manufacturer of RU-486, gave the patent to the New York-based Population Council, the non-profit group that will now test the chemical in the United States in various places, including Oregon and California. The pro-abortion organization will also be selecting the pharmaceutical firm that will ultimately produce RU-486 for public consumption.[16]

And as if that were not bad enough, we must not forget that Congressman Ron Wyden (D-OR), who worked vehemently in Congress to gain support for RU-486, represents one of the first states where RU-486 is being tested on women, or human guinea pigs as we like to call them.

Finally, and clearly, the abortionists have nothing to lose in their fight to present RU-486 to the American public as a "private" abortion pill. Few in the liberal secular media will tell the American public the truths in this matter:

  • That RU-486 is dangerous to women, deadly to babies.
  • That RU-486 can only be administered, with a prostaglandin for maximum effectiveness in child killing, in a clinical setting.
  • That certain pharmaceutical companies can make a financial killing if this human pesticide is approved.
  • That though no one is certain how safe the chemical is, the fact that it will destroy preborn children makes it acceptable, no matter what the cost to women.


1. Brennan, Professor William, Ph.D., Genocide Then and Now, Easton Publishing, brochure, c 1988.

2. Brennan, Professor William, Ph.D., "Chemical Warfare on the Unwanted; The I.G. Farben-Hoechst A.G. Connection," National Right to Life News, 1/8/91, pp. 6, 26.

3. F. A. Davis Co., 1981.

4. "Medical Abortion: Not That Simple," Drug Therapy, 9/91, p. 28.

5. "Misoprostol, Mifepristone, and Abortion," The Lancet, Vol. 339, 2/1/92, p. 313.

6. Journal of the American Medical Association, 5/19/89, p. 2865; Nurseweek, 5/27/91, p. 7.

7. Thonneau, Patrick, M.D., et al., "Analysis of 369 Abortions Conducted by Mifepristone (RU486) Associated With Sulprostone in a French Family Planning Center," Fertility and Sterility, 4/94, pp. 627-631.

8. Darnton, Nina, "Surprising Journey for Abortion Drug," New York Times, 3/23/94, p. C12.

9. "RU-486 Is a Health Hazard," Christian American, 7-8/94, p. 28.

10. Godefroid, Raymond J., R.Ph., letter in Journal of the American Medical Association, 2/16/90, p. 947.

11. Masulis, Karen M., letter in Nurseweek, May 27, 1991, p. 7.

12. Ratner, H., M.D., "French Officials Warn on Use of RU-486," Child and Family, 21:102-104, 1990.

13. Raymond, Janice; Klein, Renate; and Dumble, Lynette; RU-486: "Misconceptions, Myths and Morals," (Cambridge, MA: Institute on Women and Technology, 1991).

14. Herranz, Gonzalo, Ph.D., "Report on the Compound RU 486 (Mifepristone)," University of Navarra, Spain, 4/19/91, p. 8.

15. Raymond, et al., p. 70.

16. "Path Cleared for Abortion Pill Use," Los Angeles Times, 5/17/94, p. A1.