BERLIN -- July, 1999 -- German authorities cleared the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug for sale Tuesday, ignoring last-minute protests by the Roman Catholic church and pro-life leaders.
Sales of the pill had been blocked for years under former pro-life Chancellor Helmut Kohl, a Christian Democrat, but the pro-abortion government that won the September elections promised to legalize the deadly drug.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said he welcomes the legalization of RU 486 in Germany. The drug, sold under the trade name Mifegyne, "causes an abortion if taken within the first 49 days of pregnancy."
Anticipating Tuesday's approval by federal drug regulators, Cologne Archbishop Joachim Meisner said in an interview with Bild newspaper that the move was illegal and branded RU-486 a "murder pill."
The dangerous abortion pill was first marketed in France in 1988. In Europe, only Sweden and Britain had also allowed its sale up to now.
German regulators said under European Union rules, they had to present reasons for withholding approval and they had found none.
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