How would you feel if your doctor gave you a drug and said, “Here. This can cause hemorrhaging, infection, and possibly toxic shock. It’s not 100 percent safe, but don’t worry. Only ten women have died in the past few years. I’m sure you won’t be one of them.” Would you feel safe? Would it be worth it? I might take this risk for a life-threatening illness, but pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness.
Known as the “Abortion Pill,” most people think of RU-486 as an easy solution to an unwanted pregnancy. It is accessible to any pregnant woman under seven weeks of pregnancy. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) as “safe and effective.” Advertisers promote it as an abortion that can be done “in the privacy of your own bathroom” with all the convenience of a home-perm.
The “Abortion Pill” sounds relatively harmless. Most people think of it as just another kind of “emergency contraceptive,” sort of like the Morning After Pill. After all, you just pop it in your mouth, right? Right. But with two or three visits to a doctor, an ultrasound, and the possible surgical removal of the dead fetus, it’s not private. It is not just contraception, and it is definitely not harmless.
The RU-486 is actually two pills. Mifepristone is taken to kill the tiny embryo baby, and then, a few days later, misoprostol induces labor to expel the remains. You can imagine how powerful these drugs are. They have to override the body’s own hormones, which are designed to support, nourish, protect, and give life to the growing baby. When you are pregnant, your body is programmed to hang onto the baby at all costs. The drugs used in RU-486 therefore have to be very powerful in order to make you miscarry a baby.
What’s scary is that no one is absolutely certain about the effects of these drugs. Since RU-486 was approved in 2000, it has been linked with ten deaths. Dozens of cases of bacterial infections and excessive abdominal bleeding have been reported. It may be effective, but it is not safe. The first question to consider is: is it worth it to pump your body full of drugs this powerful?
Mifepristone and misoprostol make the body vulnerable to dangerous bacteria The vagina is home to many bacterial cultures that live in harmony with the body. Some of them, like c. Sordellii, are potentially dangerous, but the body is protected by its own barriers that prevent bacteria from infecting more vulnerable areas. What happens when these barriers are crossed? A study by Ralph P. Miech, MD, PhD, describes the relation between the drugs and the ten deaths.
The first drug blocks progesterone, the hormone that tells the placenta to provide nutrition and oxygen to the baby. This causes changes to the cervix that allow c. Sordellii to enter the cervical canal. C. Sordellii thrive in the low-oxygen environment and derive nutrition from the decaying fetal tissue. Meanwhile, it is disrupting the immune system, so that even the woman’s body now becomes vulnerable to bacterial attack. Her body cannot fight the bacteria, and c. Sordelii and its toxic wastes spread throughout the body, causing widespread toxic shock and in some cases, death. (Ralph P. Miech, MD, PhD, Annals of Pharmacotherapy Online)
This is the probable cause of death for six women in the U.S., two in Britain, one in Canada, and one in Sweden. Not only were these women following directions, some were volunteers for a case study to test the safety of the product! An abortion drug that can take the life of both baby and mother is powerful and frightening.
Danco, the leading American distributor of RU-486, claims that the deaths weren’t necessarily caused by the drug, saying that septic shock from c. Sordellii is possible in other circumstances, such as childbirth and menstruation, and therefore it can’t be proven that the drugs directly cause death.
In a way, he’s right. It is not the drug that caused the toxic shock. The infections are caused by dead human embryos, or parts, which remain rotting in the uterus. The drug did its job killing the fetus, but not expelling it from the body. So technically the drug can’t be blamed for the deaths.
But is this our standard of safety? How would you feel if your doctor gave you a drug and said, “Here. This can cause hemorrhaging, infection, and possibly toxic shock. It’s not 100 percent safe, but don’t worry. Only ten women have died in the past few years. I’m sure you won’t be one of them.” Would you feel safe? Would it be worth it?
I might take this risk for a life-threatening illness, but pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness. Menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth are natural. Mother Nature has provided hormones, it’s own “drugs,” that work with the body. She gives fertility and the ability to nurture a growing baby for nine months. Even in the case of a miscarriage, the body is prepared, by its own hormone signals, to expel the baby when the time is right. RU-486 interrupts healthy signals and works against a healthy body clinging to its baby.
But perhaps worse than all the bodily effects of RU-486 is the psychological effect. RU-486 increases suicide rate for depressed or thought-disordered women. When the dead fetus is delivered, it may be intact, not torn to shreds as in surgical abortion. “The woman may find herself sitting on her bathroom floor at 2 in the morning cradling her tiny child in her bloody fingers.” (abortiontv.com) This ghastly image has haunted me since I read it. With the abortion pill, there is no one to clean up the blood. There is no one to blame. You are the abortionist You have to live with the abortion for days, perhaps weeks, while it is doing its work. It has been described to me as a waking nightmare.
On the other hand, having a natural pregnancy and giving birth, is the healthful, life-giving alternative. At the end of nine months, you are not forced to be a mother. There are many welcoming arms that would gladly take the baby after the birth. But nine months of giving life is ultimately worth it.