How do you respond to those who say that taking mifepristone is “safer than taking Tylenol”?

Editor’s note. Chemical abortions [“medication abortions”] now account for the deaths of over 50% of the babies lost to abortion. There are many reasons for the huge increase but likely at the top is the blatant lie that “medication abortions” are “safe” and, indeed, “safer than taking Tylenol.”

We asked Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s Director of Education & Research, to address this defense of the first of the two drugs that make up medication abortions.

Considered in terms of deaths per dose, it simply isn’t so. What you have here is a not-so-clever statistical sleight of hand. Advocates try to get you to compare the number of deaths from a relatively lightly used product with one that is used billions of times by people every year.

We are told that about 150 American die from Tylenol use every year, usually by overdose or simply taking too much over an extended period of time.  At the same time, the FDA tells us that there have been 28 deaths that we know of among American mifepristone patients since the drug was approved in 2000.

So, 28 deaths from mifepristone in twenty years against 150 deaths from Tylenol in just a single year’s time?  Sounds like mifepristone is safer.

But wait. That’s 150 Tylenol deaths against a backdrop of 25 billion doses of Tylenol in a year.  We’re told that there have been only 5.6 million total chemical abortions with mifepristone in the U.S. since that 2000 approval. That is less than a thousandth of the sales of Tylenol in a single year.

Note what this does to your risk factor.

Using the minimal figures provided by the FDA, your risk of dying from taking mifepristone is about 1 in 200,000.  Not large, but not negligible.  And remember that your risk of a complication putting you in the emergency room is closer to one in 10.  

But your risk of death from Tylenol is actually something like one chance in 166.7 million, even including those who overdose and fail to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

This means that your risk of dying from mifepristone is about 833 times your risk of dying from Tylenol!

The statement that mifepristone is safer than Tylenol is clearly false.