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Drug combination adds fuel to US abortion debate

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7007.705 (Published 16 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:705

Both sides in the abortion debate in America have reacted to a report in the 31 August issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (vol 333, p 537-40) that found that methotrexate, which is used to treat cancer and misoprostol, an antiulcer drug, when used in combination can induce abortion. The news brought both the pro-life and prochoice movements to their feet.

Randall Terry, founder of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue, sent a fax to the editorial offices of the journal, threatening the report's author, Dr Richard Hausknecht, an obstetrician-gynaecologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. It threatened those whom the fax referred to as “chemical assassins” with being “hunted down and tried for genocide” should abortion be made illegal. The response has prompted Dr Hausknecht to wear a bullet proof vest on occasions, including …

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