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Does the Drug 'ella' Cause Abortions?

11:41 AM, Feb 10, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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In 2010, the Obama administration's FDA approved a new drug called 'ella' and classified it as a contraceptive. The drug now falls under the Obama administration's mandate of services that private insurers must cover free of charge. But there is a considerable amount of evidence that ella does not merely prevent conception--it can also cause the death of a human embryo after conception and even after implantation. In other words, the Obamacare mandate is not just a "contraception mandate" as many in the media portray it. The mandate also requires coverage of an abortifacient, as Jeffrey H. Anderson documented here:

CBS News notes ella’s “chemical similarity” to RU-486 (which will not be “free” under Obamacare). The New York Times describes it as being RU-486’s “chemical relative.” The Washington Post describes it as being RU-486’s “close chemical relative.” WebMD says that it works to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg — in other words, as an abortifacient.  Dr. Justo Aznar writes that between 50 percent and 70 percent of the time, ella “will act by an abortive mechanism.” The European Medicine Agency acknowledges that the drug has the "ability to delay maturation of the endometrium likely resulting in prevention of implantation."

Far from denying that ella can prevent implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb, the FDA observes that it could potentially cause an abortion even later.  It notes that there "are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women" pertaining to ella, while the drug has been found to cause abortions in pregnant rats and rabbits:  "Embryofetal loss was noted in all pregnant rats and in half of the pregnant rabbits," the FDA declared.  

Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council writes that, like RU-486, ella not only works to prevent implantation but also causes embryos to be aborted post-implantation. She writes, “Plan B can prevent an embryo from implanting in the uterus, thereby causing its demise.  However, Plan B cannot terminate an already implanted embryo.... Ella can cause the demise of an embryo that is already implanted in its mother’s womb, in addition to preventing implantation after fertilization.”  Dr. Rich Poupard of the Life Training Institute (who doesn’t think that Plan B likely acts as an abortifacient) says that “ella is basically RU-486.” He explains that both drugs act to block implantation, and, if implantation does occur, they act to prevent progesterone from adhering to the uterine lining, thereby denying the embryo the nutrients it needs to survive.

And here's the congressional testimony delivered by Jane Belford of Archdiocese of Washington during a November 2011 House hearing on conscience rights (emphasis aded):


“One drug recently approved as an emergency contraceptive, known as ella (ulipristal acetate or HRP 2000) is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486 (mifepristone), and like that drug it is seen as being able to disrupt an already implanted pregnancy by blocking progesterone.  This effect, confirmed in various animal studies, would be an abortion by anyone’s definition. See A. Tarantal, et al., “Effects of Two Antiprogestins on Early Pregnancy in the Long-Tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis),” 54 Contraception 107-115 (1996), at 114 (“studies with mifepristone and HRP 2000 have shown both antiprogestins to have roughly comparable activity in terminating pregnancy when administered during the early stages of gestation”); G. Bernagiano & H. von Hertzen, “Towards more effective emergency contraception?”, 375 The Lancet 527-28 (Feb. 13, 2010), at 527 (“Ulipristal has similar biological effects to mifepristone, the antiprogestin used in medical abortion”); European Medicines Agency, Evaluation of Medicines for Human Use: CHMP Assessment for Ellaone (2009), at 8 (“Ulipristal acetate prevents progesterone from occupying its receptor, thus the gene transcription normally turned on by progesterone is blocked, and the proteins necessary to begin and maintain pregnancy are not synthesized”) and 16 (in animal tests “ulipristal acetate is embryotoxic at low doses”).  The European Medicines Agency report is available at: .”

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