Magazine article The Christian Century

Swallowing the Pill

Magazine article The Christian Century

Swallowing the Pill

Article excerpt

Mifepristone offers the possible benefit of nudging abortions toward the early weeks of pregnancy.

MANY PEOPLE EXPECT mifepristone, or RU 486, the abortion-inducing drug just approved by the Federal Drug Administration (it will be marketed as Mifeprex), to usher in a new era in abortion history. By making abortion more accessible (mifepristone can be prescribed by almost any family practitioner) and more private (the drug can possibly be taken at home), the abortion pill will--so it's thought--drastically alter and defuse the abortion debate. Those seeking abortions will no longer need to locate specialized clinics, and those opposed to abortion will no longer have obvious targets for their protests. Abortion will become an ever more normal part of American life. This is the scenario that many have dreamed of and many others have dreaded.

It's much too soon to know, but the early signs are that no such revolutionary change is in the offing. It remains unclear, for example, how many doctors will choose to provide this form of abortion, which, though somewhat safer than surgery, carries its own set of medical challenges and legal constraints. Furthermore, mifepristone is usable only in the early weeks of pregnancy--not beyond seven weeks, according to FDA roles. About a third of abortions now fall within that time period. Finally, the mifepristone regimen is not a casual matter of popping a pill, as some may have imagined. The process involves three separate visits to the doctor, and the induced miscarriage entails up to two weeks of bleeding and cramping, with side effects of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.