What's the connection between the abortion pill and C sordellii?

July 1, 2006

Food and Drug Administration officials aren't sure just how the two are linked. That's what they told the House subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, investigating the deaths of four women who died of an infection from Clostridium sordellii, a rare but deadly bacterium, after taking the abortion pill Mifeprex (mifepristone). Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) convened the hearing to see if the drug demonstrated a "low standard for women's health," reported the Associated Press (5/17/06).

Food and Drug Administration officials aren't sure just how the two are linked. That's what they told the House subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, investigating the deaths of four women who died of an infection from Clostridium sordellii, a rare but deadly bacterium, after taking the abortion pill Mifeprex (mifepristone). Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) convened the hearing to see if the drug demonstrated a "low standard for women's health," reported the Associated Press (5/17/06).

"It is not possible at this time to determine whether the current mifepristone/misoprostol regimen for abortion results in increased risk of C sordellii infection," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's deputy commissioner for operations.

Theories abound, though. Some believe that the drug may suppress the immune system. Others say the infection may indicate an emerging obstetric threat. Opponents of the abortion pill, though, suspect a link and are pointing to the deaths to push for a ban of the drug.