What is it?
RU-486 (also known as mifepristone) is a chemical used to cause abortion. It was first developed in France in 1981. Although it is referred to as "the abortion pill," it is actually three pills taken at once. After an unusually rushed approval procedure, RU-486 was legalized in September of 2000 for use in the U.S. to terminate pregnancies. Over a thousand adverse effects have been reported to the FDA, and 8 deaths have occurred in the U.S. alone.
RU-486 is a man-made steroid designed to work against a woman's normal, natural state during pregnancy. Sometimes it is called a "medical abortion" or "chemical abortion" because it does not involve surgery, unless the chemicals fail to kill the baby.
How does it work?
During pregnancy, the preborn baby requires a chemical called progesterone. This chemical is produced naturally in the mother's body. It is so valuable to the baby's proper growth and development that some call it "nature's pregnancy hormone." RU-486 works against this hormone. It breaks down and then destroys the surroundings the baby has established in his mother's womb, and eventually destroys the baby as well. The chemical cuts off nourishment to the preborn child, who starves to death inside his mother's womb. But RU-486 does not work alone. A second chemical is also involved.
How does this second chemical work?
The second chemical (misoprostol), causes cramping and contractions. After RU-486 has killed the tiny boy or girl through starvation, this second chemical is designed to push the dead baby out of the mother's womb.
How is an RU-486 abortion done?
During her first visit to the doctor's office or clinic, the woman is given RU-486 pills. This will kill her baby in the womb. During her second visit, the woman is given pills or suppositories containing the second chemical (misoprostol). This will cause cramping, and the woman will eventually expel the dead baby. This could happen at any time after this drug is taken. During her final doctor's office or clinic visit, a doctor will examine the woman to see if her abortion is complete. If the RU-486 abortion has failed, the woman will then be scheduled for surgical abortion.
What are the side effects of RU-486?
Here are some of the side effects:
- abdominal pain
- heavy and extended bleeding
- heart attack
- impaired future fertility
- harmful to any future children
The Easy Alternative?
In December, 2005, the FDA received reports of 607 adverse events involving the abortion drug RU-486 over a four-year period. These included five reported deaths and 68 cases of severe bleeding that required transfusions. A month before, federal officials confirmed that five women who died of toxic shock syndrome within a week of taking the drug to induce abortions had the same rare bacterial infection. Four of the deaths occurred in California and one in Canada. Three of these deaths were not among those included in the FDA’s 607 events.
In all, 237 cases of hemorrhage were reported. One resulted in death, 68 required transfusions, and 42 were described as life threatening. Additionally, there were 66 cases of infection with 7 cases of septic shock reported, two of which resulted in death.
Septic shock is a serious complication of infection in which the infection enters the bloodstream and affects vital organ systems. In seventeen of the adverse events, ectopic pregnancies (where the mother’s egg implants in the fallopian tube – a potentially fatal condition) were not discovered until after the drug was taken. Eleven resulted in ruptures, one in death. Because reporting is voluntary, the number of adverse effects from RU-486 is thought to be greatly under-reported.
Since the serious health issues caused by RU-486 have come to light, efforts have been made to force the FDA to remove the drug, known commercially as Mifeprex, from the market. Danco Laboratories produces the drug.
On January 4, 2007, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) re-introduced the RU-486 Suspension and Review Act of 2007 (H.R. 63). It is also known as Holly’s Law in memory of Holly Patterson, an 18-year-old California woman who died after taking RU-486 at a Planned Parenthood clinic. The bill has 44 cosponsors and has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, where it was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
What is it?
Surgical abortion is an action that surgically kills a baby while he is growing in his mother's womb. Depending on the age of the baby at the time that the abortion is carried out, different methods can be used.
How does it work?
Suction Aspiration (or vacuum curettage, first trimester (The first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12.)): requires the insertion of a powerful suction tube with a sharp cutting edge into the womb through the dilated cervix. The suction dismembers the preborn baby, tearing the placenta from the mother's womb, sucking out blood, amniotic fluid and the pieces of the preborn baby.
Dilation and Curettage (D & C, first trimester): requires the cervix to be dilated so that a medical instrument can be inserted into the womb where the preborn baby is cut apart and removed in pieces. The placenta is then scraped off the womb. This method should not be confused with routine D & Cs done for strictly medical reasons.
Dilation and Evacuation (second trimester (13 to week 27 of pregnancy)): similar to a D & C. Forceps are inserted in the womb to rip apart the preborn baby and remove the pieces from the womb. The preborn baby's skull will have hardened by this time, and must be crushed before it can be removed.
Dilation and Extraction (second and third trimester): also known as "partial birth abortion" requires the turning of the baby in the womb so that his body, except for his head, can be delivered. Then his brains are sucked out, his head collapsed and he is delivered dead.
Prostaglandin Injection (second trimester): the hormone is injected to prematurely induce labor The baby is often born alive during this procedure and is left to die in a trash can or a sink.
Saline Injection (second or third trimester (week 29 to week 40)): requires a needle to be inserted into the mother's abdomen so that amniotic fluid can be removed. This fluid is then replaced with a concentrated salt that burns the baby's skin. Within three days the mother will deliver a burned, dead baby.
Urea Injection (second or third trimester): performed like the saline injection though this method is not as strong or as dangerous to the mother This method is avoided because abortions are frequently incomplete.
Hysterotomy (third trimester): requires an incision in the abdomen so that the preborn baby, placenta and amniotic sac can be removed. Babies are often removed alive during this procedure and then left to die.
Each of these procedures renders a baby dead and in each case there are significant side effects that can be suffered by the mother.
Is surgical abortion safe?
No, such procedures are not safe. Following is a partial list of side effects:
- Increased breast cancer risk
- Uterine perforation
- High blood loss or severe hemorrhage
- Permanent cervical or cardiovascular problems
- Seizures or coma
- Psychological disorders