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Women's Health

Pro-Choice Groups Launch RU-486 Campaign

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"I think it is going to provide useful, probably valuable, information for women who feel they need to make a choice that they can then bring to their healthcare provider," Paul Blumenthal, MD, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, tells WebMD.

"Any advertising that a well-respected group like [the National Abortion Federation] can do would certainly be helpful because it is a very important reproductive health option and women need to know about it," says William Lutz, deputy director of communications at NARAL, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. "Magazines are obviously a great venue for educating women about this option."

But anti-abortion organizations are far from enthusiastic.

"We think it is a disservice to women," National Right to Life Committee spokeswoman Laura Echevarria tells WebMD. "We know RU-486 caused one woman in Iowa almost to bleed to death. We know the drug is imported from China from a company that has been cited by the FDA for several violations; and we know that the drug has potential to be very dangerous."

Echevarria also says that the campaign is an attempt to raise interest in a drug that isn't selling well and notes that because it isn't a pharmaceutical ad, which would be regulated by the FDA, none of mifepristone's side effects have to be listed. "They are not disclosing the pitfalls of RU-486," she says.

Not so, counters Mueller. "We know that those who are opposed to choice have been already putting out inaccurate information about the option; we know that they are trying to scare women and tell women it is an unsafe option when in fact the overwhelming evidence to date is quite the opposite," she says. "That is part of why we want to ensure there is accurate information by running our campaign."

"We know that the majority of Americans support a woman's right to choose, and we know that the support for choice is greater earlier in the pregnancy," says Mueller. "So Americans do support the availability of this option and ... women are finally able to access it after years of political game- playing. When they are making decisions about an unintended pregnancy, women have a right to accurate information about all of their reproductive healthcare options."

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