RU-486: A Tool for Population Control

Population control advocates insist that expanded access to abortion is essential to improving the status and health of women throughout the world. Pro-lifers, on the other hand, are obviously opposed to any effort to expand abortion access around the world.

Many proponents of population control honestly believe that such efforts will expand the rights of women and improve their lives. However, there is another group of population controllers who want to reduce individual rights at the expense of women.

These zealots are are the ones who make excuses for programs that involve coerced sterilizations, forced abortions, or the withholding of food or medical care unless poor women “voluntarily” accept IUDs or Norplant insertions.

Some are doomsayers who believe that population growth threatens the survival of humanity. Others believe that higher birth rates will actually improve the political and economic power of developing countries-but at the expense of developed countries.

In short, they are not seeking to advance the rights and welfare of the poor. Just the opposite. They are actually elitists who see population control as a means of keeping the “rabble” in their place.

Since it’s approval by the FDA in 1992, it has been seen that RU-486 poses risks to women and girls and has been used to force them into unwanted abortions. But it is also is seen by population controllers as a tool for controlling the number and “quality” of births, especially in the developing world.

Preventing “Poor” Babies

In 1997, the pro-life group Judical Watch issued a report documenting the FDA’s approval process for RU-486 and the Clinton Administration’s involvement. Critics have long argued that the approval process was a a rushed, botched process that disregarded the risks to women in favor of pushing abortion.

Judicial Watch’s report included a letter from Ron Weddington, an attorney and abortion advocate who had served as co-counsel in Roe v. Wade, to then-president elect Bill Clinton, urging him to use surgical and chemical abortion as a tool to “eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of the country.” Judicial Watch describes the letter as “chronologically and philosophically, the foundation document for the Clinton RU-486 files.”

In the letter, dated Jan. 6, 1992, Weddington told Clinton that programs to assist the poor would not be effective for years to come, and that population control was therefore needed to end poverty.

“The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies,” Weddington wrote. “There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and … well, …so Republican.”

The letter urged Clinton to “use persuasion, not coercion” to convince people to have fewer children, and suggested that he involve celebrities to carry out the task.

“And, having convinced the poor that they can’t get out of poverty when they have all these extra mouths to feed, you will have to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths,” Weddington wrote. “. . . . It’s time to officially recognize that people are going to have sex and what we need to do as a nation is prevent as much disease and as many poor babies as possible.”

He said the government would have to provide not only condoms and contraceptives but also “vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortions . . . RU-486 and conventional abortions.” He also accused church officials, the military, and business owners of encouraging births in order to meet their own needs for “parishioners,” “cannon fodder,” and “cheap labor.”

“Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes,” the letter concluded. “We don’t need more cannon fodder. We don’t need more parishioners. We don’t need more cheap labor. We don’t need more poor babies.”

Taking RU-486 Abroad

As Elliot Institute director David Reardon has pointed out, RU-486, when properly administered, is not safer, more private, or less expensive than surgical abortions. But it can be taken into with relative ease into developing countries, even when abortion is not legally available.

“Once it is brought into developing countries, RU-486 can be easily transported and distributed,” Reardon said. “With a little training, it can be cheaply administered by midwives. To avoid trouble with the law, or the conscience of individual patients, these abortions can be disguised under the label ‘menstrual regulation.’

“Even if questions of safety arise, the deaths and injuries suffered by women in developing countries can then be blamed on ‘oppressive’ abortion bans that deny women access to ‘safe and legal abortions.’ For population control advocates, it’s a win-win.”

Reardon said that those concerned about the health and safety of women should continue to lobby the FDA to withdraw approval for the drug.

“Key supporters of RU-486 seem to be more concerned with promoting population control than with protecting the health and welfare of women, especially poor women,” he said. “It’s not just pro-lifers who should be concerned about this, but anyone who cares about protecting individual rights and freedom.”


Learn More:
RU-486 and the Assault on Pregnant Women
5 Myths About RU-486
RU-486: A Tool for Population Control
Forced Abortion in America: A Special Report

Abortion Pill Reversal
Women who have taken the first dose of the abortion pill (mifepristone, mifeprex or RU-486) may be able to have a doctor stop the abortion. Learn more at

Help During Pregnancy
Resources, information and support during pregnancy
Legal help for those being pressured, coerced or forced to abort

Help After Abortion
Resources, information and support for healing after abortion


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