Monday, August 23, 2004

Dad to Warn of RU-486 Dangers

Thu, Aug. 19, 2004 The Contra Costa Times
Dad to go to D.C. to talk on RU-486

A YEAR AFTER Holly Patterson's death, her still-grieving father will travelfrom Livermore to Washington, D.C., next month to voice his concerns aboutthe safety of the RU-486 abortion pill. Monty Patterson will meet with Food and Drug Administration officials on Sept. 16, the day before the one-year anniversary of Holly's death. And onSept. 18, he will speak at the national convention of Concerned Women forAmerica.Although he will address that conservative pro-life group from the same podium as will the Rev. Jerry Falwell the night before, Patterson says he'llstay away from the larger abortion debate. He will focus on what he believes is insufficient oversight of RU-486,underreporting of side effects, and the need for pregnant young women todiscuss options with their families. "My discussion has always been the same, and it's a pro-women's message,"Patterson said. "I'm not out to present scare tactics but to tell our story,and what happened to Holly. It's real and it could be any other parent outthere. "I'd like to see (RU-486) banned, but I don't think it's realistic," he said. "I think big changes have to be made certainly with consumer awarenessand education. There has to be more accountability in how it'sadministered."An autopsy showed that 18-year-old Holly died from a massive infectioncaused by inflammation of her uterus resulting from a drug-induced abortion.The FDA continues to investigate the case. Holly's dad says she was given RU-486 on Sept. 10 at a Planned Parenthoodclinic in Hayward and a follow-up pill to insert vaginally at home the nextday to help expel the aborted fetal tissue. It's unclear whether life-threatening problems were evident on Sept. 14 when Patterson, cramping and bleeding, was taken by her boyfriend to Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton and sent home with painkillers. She died Sept. 17 after returning to ValleyCare's emergency room. Monty Patterson is working to set up meetings with White House and congressional staffers while in Washington on Sept. 14-19, but hopes to keephis calendar clear on the anniversary of Holly's death. "I'd like to hold that day close to my heart. I don't want any kind ofagenda to deal with other than to just think of Holly. "Pro-choice forces say RU-486 has been used safely by more than 200,000American women and by more than 1 million women worldwide.