Fact Check: The Nazis Were NOT Involved With Abortion Pill RU-486 -- It Was Developed By French Firm Decades After WWII

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: The Nazis Were NOT Involved With Abortion Pill RU-486 -- It Was Developed By French Firm Decades After WWII Wrong Timeline

Were the Nazis involved with the abortion pill RU-486 as claimed by an anti-abortion activist? No, that's not true: The French company that created the pill did so in the 1980s, but the activist made the connection by claiming the company is owned by a German company that created the poisonous gas that was used in Nazi death camps during World War II. The German company did purchase majority shareholder shares in the French company but not until 1997, long after the abortion pill was created.

The claim appeared in a post and video (archived here) on Instagram on January 29, 2024. The video starts with the caption THE NAZIS WERE INVOLVED WITH THE ABORTION PILL and a man saying:

The abortion pill RU-486, it comes from the Nazis.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-02-01 at 12.27.37 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thurs Feb 1 16:12:4 2024 UTC)

The caption on the post read:

This isn't me using the word 'Nazi' as a buzzword, literally look at the history of the abortion pill and you can see how the Nazis just went from murdering Jews with their poison, to murdering babies.

The claim that the Nazis are responsible for the abortion pill is false.

Seth Gruber, an anti-abortion activist (archived here), claims in the video that there is a connection between the company that makes the abortion pill and the company that provided the poisonous gas to the Nazis for the "showers" that were actually gas chambers that killed Jewish people in the concentration camps during World War II. Gruber says:

RU4-86 stands for Roussel-Uclaf. Roussel R, Uclaf U. RU-486. Roussel-Uclaf, OK?
Roussel-Uclaf is a French pharmaceutical company that invented and created the abortion pill. ... Roussel-Uclaf has a majority shareholder named Hoechst AG. Hoechst AG was the co-founder of a group called IG Farben. ...
IG Farben was infamous for creating a cyanide gas known as Zyklon B. Zyklon B was the gas used to poison Jews in Nazi death showers.

Britannica defines RU-486 on their website (archived here):

RU-486, first trade name for mifepristone, a synthetic steroid drug prescribed for inducing abortion during the early weeks of pregnancy. The name is derived from an abbreviation for the pharmaceutical company Roussel-Uclaf plus a serial number.

RU-486 was developed by Émile Baulieu, a Jewish scientist who worked in biochemistry and neuroscience throughout his career, as the New Yorker reported in 2022 (archived here). The pill was approved for use in France in 1988, according to Britannica.

Roussel-Uclaf was acquired by Hoechst AG in 1997, according to Britannica (archived here), nine years after RU-486 was approved for use.

The poison gas Zyklon B that was used in Nazi death camps during World War II was supplied by Degesch, an IG Farben subsidiary. Hoechst AG co-founded IG Farben, as Chem Europe reported (archived here).

Mifepristone is the drug used in RU-486 for medical abortions. In the United States, mifepristone was approved for use in 2000, as France 24 (archived here) reported in an article titled, "The long and winding history of the war on abortion drugs."

The American company that manufacturers mifepristone is Danco Laboratories, as Forbes (archived here) reported in a 2023 story about the Supreme Court case regarding the medication.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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