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Holly Patterson: 18-Year-Old Victims of "Safe, Legal and Rare" Abortion

Her whole life was ahead of her. Holly Patterson, an 18-year-old from San Francisco, had gotten pregnant; she decided not to keep the baby or give her up for adoption. She walked into a Planned Parenthood office in Hayward on September 10, 2003, and received RU-486 to “end her pregnancy” as the San Francisco Chronicle terms it. Tragically, a week later late into the night, Holly Patterson would be dead from “safe and legal” abortion.

Some mothers have died from non-surgical abortion as well. The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the abortion pill RU-486, or mifepristone, which causes an abortion of seven-week-old children or less, which includes bleeding and intense cramping to expel the human being. The drug was approved in France in 1988 and was approved by the FDA in September of 2000. In 2002, the Washington Times reported on two women who had died from taking RU-486, which prompted the FDA to send warning letters to prescribing physicians.

Other women suffered internal bleeding, and one woman had a hemorrhage and died. Another pair of women developed “severe systemic bacterial infections” after taking RU-486; one of them died (1).

The FDA announced in November, 2004 that a strong warning would be added to the abortion pill, because of the “rare but serious complications that may occur with any abortion.” Possible lethal side effects listed include bacterial infections and septic shock.

While it is in line with Culture Jam for Life's goals of allowing RU-486 for cases of rape or incest to prevent conception, this was not one of those times. Sadly, Holly Peterson died as so did the life inside of her.

1. Julian Guthrie, “Pregnant teen’s death under investigation,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 19, 2003.