Monday 2nd October 2023

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The History Of The RU 486 Abortion Pill”

January 14, 2015 Featured Today No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 2 of The Facts of Life, “Abortifacients,” e-mail him at

+ + +

At one time, the lives of preborn children were valuable to researchers for the pharmaceutical corporations. The scientists worked hard to avoid injuring them as they developed new drugs. But times have radically changed. Big Pharma now spends millions of dollars annually developing drugs and devices that deliberately kill the preborn child as efficiently and as easily (to the mother) as possible.
One 1980s political cartoon showed researchers saying, “Our new drug kills unborn children! We’re ruined!” Now they say, “Our new drug kills unborn children! We’re rich!”
In the 1970s, Garrett Hardin and other population theorists dreamed of a “contraceptive” that would most likely take the form of an abortifacient pill.
With RU 486, it seems that the anti-life genie has finally granted their unholy wish.
The Lethal Origins of RU 486. The tale of the abortion pill is laden with deception, outright lies, and dishonest manipulation of every kind.
The original manufacturer of RU 486 was the French company Groupe Roussel Uclaf, a subsidiary of the West German pharmaceutical giant Hoechst. Hoechst had changed its name from the original “I.G. Farben” after World War II in an attempt to shake off its loathsome reputation. After all, it had profited greatly from the manufacture of the cyanide gas Zyklon B, which the Nazis used to exterminate Jews and others in the “showers” of their death camps.
Now I.G. Farben’s subsidiary is making an even greater profit by exterminating millions of preborn babies.
Ironically, the Pill’s inventor, Etienne Emile Baulieu of France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research, is Jewish. He was born in 1926 to Leon Blum and changed his name in 1942, perhaps to avoid being killed by the Zyklon B gas made by the same company he worked for while developing RU 486.
On September 23, 1988, the French government, which just happened to own a little more than a third of Roussel’s stock, approved distribution of the abortion pill on the condition that it be administered only in approved medical centers and only until the seventh week of pregnancy. The manufacturer was immediately swamped with tens of thousands of pro-life protest letters, and more than 20,000 French pro-life activists marched in Paris streets in opposition to the Pill.
For months, Dr. Edouard Sakiz, Roussel Uclaf chairman, watched pickets outside his window at work. Pro-lifers publicly condemned his new product as “a chemical weapon that would poison the still tiny children of a billion Third World mothers.” Jean Marie Cardinal Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, condemned the Pill as being “extremely dangerous,” both physically and morally.
On October 26, 1988, about one month after government approval of the Pill, Roussel Uclaf suspended distribution in China and France because of the “outcry of public opinion at home and abroad.” Andre Ullman of Roussel Uclaf, who helped develop the Pill, said that a boycott figured heavily in the company’s decision to stop making the drug.
The backlash from pro-abortionists was incredibly vehement. Faye Wattleton, then-president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, complained that the suspension was “. . . a tragic display of cowardice and a shocking blow to women around the world.” Liberation, France’s largest left-wing daily newspaper, sneered at the Catholic Church in its front page article entitled “The Diktat of the Bigots.” The political weekly L’Evenement du Jeudi sniveled about “. . . the brutal return of the Inquisition.”
The French Family Planning Movement (including, of course, Planned Parenthood) trotted out its usual mix of tired slogans to condemn “. . . this new assault by conservative religious forces. . . . The traditionalists and Catholic reactionaries now want to impose their reactionary laws on women.”
On October 29, 1988, the French government ordered the company to resume distribution of RU 486. Health Minister Claude Evin, quoting France’s 1975 law legalizing abortion, stated that the Pill was “the moral property of the women of France.” Evin had invoked, for the very first time, a 1968 French law that allows the government to directly intervene when the “interests of public health” are endangered.
Evin said that “I was doing what I could to make sure France did not surrender to pressure groups animated by archaic ideologies.”
Baulieu, the killer pill’s inventor, was now in the spotlight and parroted the usual pro-abortion lies. He said: “One hundred and fifty thousand women die annually from botched abortions. RU 486 could save the lives of thousands of women.”
Incredibly, pro-abortion groups even promoted Baulieu for a Nobel Prize nomination. It would be interesting indeed to see how the Nobel committee would justify elevating Baulieu to the same stature as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who labored to save life rather than destroy it, and who condemned abortion during her own Nobel Prize acceptance lecture.
The invention of the abortion pill caused great excitement among pro-abortion groups in the United States. Several groups whose sole or primary purpose was to propagandize the public soon sprang up, including Every Child a Wanted Child (California) and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (Washington, D.C.).
The organic dishonesty of the pro-abortion movement was highlighted as it worked hard to convince the public that RU 486 was merely another contraceptive. The public relations firm Bass and Howes developed and disseminated a neatly packaged and glossy press kit that included sample charts and graphs and photos. This press kit instructed the media to:
“Emphasize the dearth of other contraceptive options available — particularly in comparison with what is available in other parts of the world” and “Emphasize the issues of privacy, ease, safety, choice, and freedom, rather than of abortion and politics.”
And a writer for the pro-abortion front group “Catholics” for [a Free] Choice (CFFC) said:
“If RU 486 is also used monthly, pro-lifers would have a hard time convincing the public that the drug isn’t just another contraceptive. Indeed, a 1982 New York Times story on Baulieu and RU 486 described the drug as ‘a new birth control pill.’ Planned Parenthood released a ‘Fact Sheet’ in October that refers to RU 486 as a type of ‘interceptor (luteal contraception).’ If most people hear a new drug described as ‘birth control,’ they’ll think of the Pill and IUD, not abortion. . . . If more women come to use RU 486 than traditional contraceptives, abortion would be the preferred method of birth control in the United States.”

Numbing Consciences

The archbishop of Lyon, Albert Cardinal Decourtray, summed up the feelings of pro-life Christians everywhere as he said: “The Pill now produces a process which allows abortion to seem like a contraceptive. In other words, it tends purely and simply to numb the conscience about both the act itself and its moral gravity. A follower of Christ cannot accept it.”
In November of 1988, the Holy See clarified its definition of abortion to include the use of drugs like RU 486, which are used specifically to kill the unborn child. Such use is an excommunicable offense for Catholics, the same as procuring a surgical “elective” abortion.
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) conducted detailed tests with RU 486 and a similar drug, ZK 98.734, which was produced by Schering AG. It is obvious that WHO would have no particular interest in RU 486 unless the Pill would assist its population control programs. Baulieu himself has cited his own concern about the “complications of overpopulation” as one of the reasons he developed the abortion pill.
The Population Council tested RU 486 on 2,100 American women between October 1994 and December 1995. This trial deliberately excluded women over 35 years of age and those who smoked more than ten cigarettes each day. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration advises doctors to “treat these patients with caution,” and also to be very careful with women taking anticonvulsants or anticoagulants. On September 28, 2000, the FDA approved RU 486 for use in the United States.
The Population Council gave the rights to produce RU 486 to the New York-based marketing firm Danco Laboratories, which sells a chemical equivalent under the name Mifeprix or “Early Option.” The Shanghai-based Hua Lian Pharmaceutical Company makes the drug compound.
Since the RU 486 abortion pill was approved for general use in the United States, more than two million preborn children have lost their lives to it, and by the end of this year, more than one-fourth of all abortions performed in the United States will be non-surgical, or “medical” — abortion by pill.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

German bishops in tug of war over blessing same-sex unions

The German Bishops’ Conference convenes its plenary assembly today, setting the stage for what promises to be a pivotal gathering amid a period of unprecedented tension within the Church in Germany — and with the wider Catholic Church.  On the official agenda for the gathering from Sept. 25–28 in the town of Wiesbaden are topics ranging from handling spiritual abuse to preparations for the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome. However, overshadowing discussions are the…Continue Reading

Bishop Strickland: ‘no communication from Rome’ following apostolic visitation

Following a report that Pope Francis and Vatican officials held a meeting earlier this month to discuss requesting the resignation of Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland, the prelate said on Wednesday he has not been contacted by the Vatican about such matters. In addition, Strickland said if Pope Francis were to remove him from office he would respect the Holy Father’s authority but would not resign if asked. 

Trump calls six-week abortion ban ‘terrible,’ gets slammed by pro-life leaders

(LifeSiteNews) — Former President Donald Trump stunned pro-life former supporters over the weekend with a Meet the Press interview in which he repeatedly touted plans for an abortion compromise he hopes will put the issue “behind us,” repeatedly refused to say if he believes the preborn have constitutional rights, condemned state heartbeat laws as “terrible,” expressed indifference as to whether the issue is resolved at the state or federal level, and reiterated his insistence that…Continue Reading

Pope Francis reportedly set to ask Bishop Strickland to resign

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis met with Vatican officials over the weekend to discuss asking Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, to resign, according to a report on Monday by The Pillar. Pope Francis met on Saturday with Archbishop Robert Prevost, OSA, the head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Pillar reported that several sources close to the dicastery told the website ahead of the meeting that…Continue Reading


7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Welcome To The Big Tent

By PEGGY MOEN Catholics now are reading more Scripture than they did in earlier generations, possibly as a reflection of Vatican II and greater ecumenical involvement. But I think the increased reading might reflect another reality — the need for the consolation of the Word of God in trying times, with so many people moving…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading