Abortion Pill Essay, Research Paper
1. Problem Statement
Approval of the abortion pill RU-486, also recognized as mifepristone, has put abortion back into the spotlight. This has stirred up controversial issues of reproductive rights in America, and a growing concern for the potential impact of RU-486 on the well being of our society’s morals and values.
2. Facts and Analysis
A Brief History
Mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486, provides women with a medical alternative to surgical abortion. Mifepristone is an antiprogesterone drug that blocks receptors of progesterone, a key hormone in the establishment and maintenance of human pregnancy. Mifepristone induces spontaneous abortion when administered in early pregnancy and followed by a dose of misoprostol, a prostaglandin.
Researchers have discovered many potential uses for mifepristone beyond pregnancy termination. Uses include treatment of breast cancer, Cushing’s syndrome, endometriosis, glaucoma, meningioma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, uterine fibroids, and the induction of labor. In very low doses, mifepristone may even be used to prevent pregnancy as a method of emergency contraception within. In higher doses, of course, it can be used to terminate pregnancy. Other existing emergency contraception cannot be used to terminate pregnancy because they are not abortifacients.
Mifepristone offers women another choice for abortion. It causes a miscarriage and can be used earlier than surgical abortion. Medical abortion is totally non-invasive, meaning there’s no surgery, and no anesthesia is necessary.
Like everything in life, there are some down sides to the use of RU-486. One can assume that it will make abortion easier and more available for a lot of women. However, mifepristone doesn’t get rid of all of the discomfort that can go along with an abortion. Similar to a miscarriage, it can cause side effects including nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and heavy cramping. If the pills don’t work, a surgical abortion will be necessary.
Unintentional pregnancies statistically bring a host of economic, emotional, and physical ills to mother and baby. About half of the unintended pregnancies in Washington State are aborted, according to the state Department of Health. That rate is consistent with the rest of the US. Even though there is a demand for abortion providers, many doctors have remained fearful of protestors and violence by antiabortion activists who target abortion providers. Doctors do not want to be subject to violence against themselves, their staff, and even their families to the actions of anti-choice people. A few physicians have already been killed in this country over abortion, giving many potential providers reason to be concerned.
Today, there aren’t enough providers in the US who offer abortion services to them women who need/desire them. Women who have chosen to have an abortion have, at times, been faced with harassment and intimidation from picketers. Physicians who provide abortion services have worked in fear of assassination, arson, assault and sabotage from abortion foes. It is possible that Mifepristone may assist in solving this shortage, since one may assume that a lot more doctors would be willing to perform abortions medically than they would surgically. The drug’s availability through private doctors’ offices might make it much harder for antiabortion activists to target abortion providers, keeping all individuals involved at a greater distance from danger.
Many individuals have speculated that when mifepristone becomes widely available, early surgical abortion as practiced today will be chosen less frequently by eligible women. Potential effects of such a change include the following:
? More providers may be willing to offer the pharmacological regimen than currently offer surgical abortion services.
? The substitution of medical for surgical abortion may reflect a shift toward earlier pregnancy termination.
These points may be positive or negative, depending on one’s attitude towards abortion as a choice.
3. Possible Solutions
One viewpoint that an individual can have on the release of RU-486 is that it is another form of legalized murder. Since RU-486 does, in fact, terminate a pregnancy, it is understandable that some people will consider the pills no different from chemical murder weapons. There is no denying that the pills destroy an unborn life. This is the first drug approved by FDA that is intended to kill people, therefore, a solution would be to outlaw the drug entirely.
Another possible viewpoint on the acceptance of RU-486 is that it will only fuel anti-choice violence. It has been demonstrated in the past that any and all individuals affiliated with the abortion procedure is subject to being put into danger. Since 1990, over a thousand acts of violence against clinics have occurred. However, women who have taken the pill have reported feeling more comfortable with the procedure and less traumatized. Access to non-surgical abortions may make it much harder for anti-abortion protesters to target abortion providers, in turn making the procedure safer for the individuals involved. This observation leads us to a third viewpoint, that RU-486 may make abortion safer for women.
Its possible that RU-486 may allow more privacy and give more women access to abortions without the distressed picket lines and protestors. Women may be more comfortable with the procedure and less traumatized, exactly the feelings the anti-abortionist want to prevent. This outcome would be positive point for an individual with a pro-choice attitude and a disastrous point for an individual with a pro-life attitude.
Last but not least, RU-486 may be seen as reinforcement of our belief in personal freedom. Many Americans may view abortion as murder and may be comfortable with it being illegal, but many Americans don’t want to impose that on other people. This attitude is similar to that of a “live-and-let-live” approach. Many Americans are in favor of letting people make their won individual choices. This would not only include the decision to have an abortion, but whether or not a woman chooses a surgical or non-surgical procedure.
4. Recommended Strategy and Implementation
Safe and affordable contraception remains a key to family planning and preventative health care. RU-486 may help abortion be a private decision between a woman and her doctor, along with greater personal control over the process of terminating a pregnancy.
Medical abortion can offer the comfort of being at home for much of the process. Women who have taken part in clinical trials of mifepristone in the US reported greatly appreciating the privacy. But RU-486 shouldn’t be handed out over the counter by any pharmacy that desires to do so. RU-486 should be distributed only to doctors trained to accurately diagnose the duration of pregnancy. Also, the doctors distributing RU-486 should be able to operate in case a surgical abortion is needed to finish the job.
The method of abortion using RU-486 should be subject to the same rules and regulations as surgical abortion, and the individuals who believe abortion is wrong shouldn’t have to think it is no less wrong when the procedure is medical rather than surgical.
5. Feedback and Evaluation
Factors that should be monitored and evaluated concerning this topic include safety, effectiveness, and side effects including both physical and emotional. How is RU-486 going to affect the overall health of women? The cost is another concern. Who is going to pay for the procedures? How will this cost effect to overall economy? What about the emotional impact on society? We should definitely continue evaluating these questions.
The number of abortions that result in the approval of RU-486 shouldn’t be our main concern. If there is a reason to be concerned, it should be on the ethical and moral issues that stem from the reproductive rights of women in America. Without question, abortion is an extremely controversial issue in today’s society. However, the different attitudes of abortion activists are more important factors than that which involve the actual abortion procedure.
The focal issue of this paper is not to evaluate whether or not abortion should be legal, but rather the question of RU-486 being legal – and readily available. If women have been granted the choice to terminate a pregnancy, then RU-486 simply provides them with a choice on the procedure they prefer to use. The approval of RU-486 will not vastly impact the landscape of abortion in America. Though nearly every individual in America has a personal opinion on abortion rights, abortion remains an issue between a woman, her creator and her physician. As long as abortion is legal, women will now have RU-486 as an option when making the choice that is best for them.