Ru-486 Essay, Research Paper
RU-486 is the recently approved abortion pill. It affords women an opportunity to have a non-surgical abortion within the first seven weeks of pregnancy. The guidelines require for the woman to have multiple doctor visits, as well as counseling so this is a bit different then the morning after pill. Controversy surrounds RU-486 on many levels. Firstly, there are the possible side effects as well as the slight failure rate (from which a woman would still need to have a surgical abortion). Also, the availability, and the attempts to control it, is another issue. Finally, the political sparks created, as well as the Republican effort to limit the pill is another issue. On the whole, since RU-486 was approved in late September, the number of debates surrounding it has multiplied. Of course, the major issue is not whether a woman can or cannot have an abortion, but whether non-surgical abortion is a viable option for a woman.
One side of the coin feels that a woman should under no circumstances have an abortion. During the days of surgical abortions, this could be a more valid argument, given the extensiveness of the surgery as well as the under minded ways of having a surgical abortion (i.e. the horrible coat hanger stories). This standpoint extends into the age of the fetus, and which trimesters should a woman is able to abort in. Recently, this argument has also taken on the morning after pill, saying it is possible for a woman to have fertilized an embryo by the morning after. There is talk of making the morning after pill over the counter, and there is adversity to that as well. The people on the side of anti-abortion are not recognizing the benefits RU-486 may have to a woman.
The other side of the coin is those people politicians, medical practitioners, activists who see RU-486 as a benefit to women. Nearly nine in ten women who live outside of major metropolitan areas have no close access to abortion services, and the availability of mifepristone [RU-486] will change that . Having an option alternate to that of surgery is a safety towards women. Granted, there are still some side effects and such to RU-486, but it still is not as traumatic as having surgery.
There is one current argument that underlies both sides of the coin, which is necessary to present when discussing this. There is currently legislation in the ranks in Ohio that will allow pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription if they are morally against it . This is allowing pharmacists to decide whether or not a person can have any medication that the pharmacist is personally opposed to the treatment. So women who have discussed options with their doctors and have decided to take RU-486 may not be able to get it, depending on their pharmacist s personal beliefs. Arguments and legislation along these lines run concurrently with the RU-486 debate all over the country. So the argument has expanded from a woman s choice to the opinions of her politicians and now pharmacists as well.
Personally, I feel as though a woman should in fact be able to take RU-486 under a doctor s supervision. The benefits of having a non-surgical abortion outweigh the risks associated with a surgical abortion. Granted, I am not saying a woman should take black market RU-486, which could be potentially fatal, but it will become available in that way as well. Under a doctor s care, this is the safest alternative for a woman, and I feel as though it should be supported.
The politics of RU-486 is where it becomes very interesting. Initially, George Bush banned FDA testing of the drug. Then Bill Clinton came into office, lifted the ban and allowed FDA approval of the drug. Now that George W. Bush is in office, there are attempts to limit the availability of RU-486. As I stated before, nearly nine in ten women have to travel great distances for an abortion clinic the Republicans in office now are writing legislation in attempts to keep RU-486 far from widespread and easily available. Legislation proposed on February 6, 2001 requires that a physician prescribing RU-486 must be qualified to handle complications from incomplete abortions as well as legally authorized to perform abortions. A prescribing physician also must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital . By limiting the doctors able to prescribe the pill, Republicans are circumventing the availability of the pill to women. Yes, the legislation is to protect the safety of a woman, however, during the FDA approval process, all of this was considered and deemed statistically excessive.
Once John Ashcroft was confirmed as Attorney General, there were some fears amongst those in favor of RU-486. Lawmakers say that in the coming months they will seek to impose incremental restrictions on abortion while averting a direct confrontation over women s constitutional rights to obtain the procedure . Having politics involved in an already approved FDA drug is very detrimental to a woman s concern for herself and her ability to raise a child. There is talk in Washington D.C. to impose penalties on those who harm a fetus, as well as the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade. I know, as a woman in today s society, I like the safety of knowing that I can do as I feel with my body, and make the educated decisions that I want. Politicians are not making it easy for a woman to feel comfortable making these decisions, which is far from fair given it is 2001.
I think the politicians have turned the approval of RU-486 into a stomping ground for pro-life legislation. RU-486 gives them an easier entryway into writing legislation limiting abortions on the whole, as well as restricting various elements associated with abortions. The measures include a ban on a controversial procedure opponents refer to as partial birth abortion, a restriction prohibiting anyone but a parent from transporting a minor across state lines to have an abortion, and limitations on who can administer mifepristone, an abortion pill previously known as RU-486 .
RU-486 is a safe and viable way for a woman to have an abortion and a less risky choice then surgical abortion. The FDA has already gone through extensive testing and approval procedures and deemed RU-486 as a safe option for women. However, those that oppose abortion on the whole have taken RU-486 as its flagship to limit all types of abortion and various factors associated with abortions. The issue should not be whether or not a woman can have an abortion politicians should be more concerned as to the woman s safety then the grammar in their most current asinine piece of legislation.