Earlier this month we have seen the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s registration of RU-486 for wider use in Australia. Some may see this policy as a positive step for women: It is practical, accessible and far less costly.
Others take a more prudent stance on the matter: The simplicity behind swallowing pills disguises the complexity of the process.
‘RU’ stands for ‘Roussel-Uclaf’ – the name of the pharmaceutical company which developed the drug. 486 represents the code of the chemical substance Mifepristone. Essentially, this chemical is a synthetic steroid that blocks the action of Progesterone ( a hormone which is naturally produced in large quantities during pregnancy. It’s purpose is to relax the uterus muscle, increase the supply of blood in the endometrium and nourishes the placenta.)
Mifepristone binds itself with Progesterone receptors, cutting it’s supply to the placenta and disrupting the lining of the uterus.
This ceases the needed nourishment and oxygen to the early developing child (embryo) resulting the end of a pregnancy.
Misoprostol (known as the drug Cytotec) is then given on the third day. It contains the compound ‘prostaglandin’ which induces strong uterine contractions so as to expel the placenta and embryo. Therefore, the woman carries the aborted embryo in her stomach until the expulsion process.
However, the procedure is far more complex than this. Women require additional medications to deaden the pain of the contractions and anti infection antibiotics are often also required.
Writers of ‘RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals’ reflect on the concern for women’s health on this issue:
“In light of the claims made that RU 486 is a simple, pill-popping method of abortion, we highlight the complexity, in cumulative fashion of what has now become a drug cocktail: RU 486 + prostaglandin + analgesics+ pre-medication + antibiotics.”
Interestingly, The manufacturers of Cytotec (a drug used for stomach ulcers) cautioned in August, 2000 that the drug is not to be taken if pregnant. They stated: “Serious adverse events were reported following off-label use of Cytotec in pregnant women include maternal or fetal death, uterine hyperstimulation, rupture or perforation requiring….surgical repair, hysterectomy or [other treatment].” Yet RU-486 has no effect without Cytotec’s prostaglandin to expel the placenta and embryo.
Dr. Nathanson, former well reputed abortionist and director of a New-York clinic turned pro-life, discussed this issue further. He indicated that Cytotec is frequently ineffective as the pregnancy may only be partially detached from the womb, thus resulting in excessive bleeding. It is common for women to leave the clinics too early after the drug has been given. This results in the contractions and expulsion process to occur at home. The risks? It is difficult to determine the difference between a ‘normal’ contraction and bleeding with one containing complications. Often women undermine the extent of the pain, increasing risks of transfusions or emergency procedures.
In the U.S, the FDA’s approval of RU-486 had the intention of developing a series of safeguards for women. This fell through with the abortion industry claiming it would be too strenuous a task resulting in too few women having access to the drug. This grand hypocrisy simply confirms the lack of care the abortion industry has for women.
So do not be fooled by the simplicity of a few pills to be popped.
This article is by Claire at LifeChoice Sydney. The facts mentioned here about RU486 were sourced from Physicians for Life.