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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » "Abortion Pill" Finally Approved

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Author Topic: "Abortion Pill" Finally Approved
Lady Moonlight
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I woke up this morning to the news that the FDA has finally approved RU-486, the "abortion pill." This pill has been used for years in Europe to give women an alternative to surgical abortions, but its approval has been long delayed in this country because of the political storms surrounding the right to choose. Check out the Yahoo! article here:
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000928/ts/abortion_pill.html

A company representative on NPR said they hope to have the pill widely available by the end of October, although its cost will likely be similar to that of a surgical abortion.


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LilBlueSmurf
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Yayyyyy ... i'm so happy this is passed. I think it's easier than the stress of the surgery and whatever. I know there is a certain level of stress involved, but surgery doesn't help, that's for sure.

Does anyone know if this means it's in Canada too?


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Dzuunmod
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No, unfortunately LilBlueSmurf, this does not mean that it's available in Canada now. Right now, mifepristone -- I think that's how the Canadian authorities are referring to it -- is still in clinical testing phases in this country, and that probably means that it won't be available for at least another two years.
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Heather
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...and the right wing goes ballistic already (big surprise).
http://news.excite.com/news/ap/000929/08/news-abortion-pill

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Pixie69
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Well I for one think that it's a great idea. Now while I don't know a lot of information on the pill from what I've read it's pretty safe and very effective. I'm totally pro-choice, it's a woman's body and we should be able to decide what to do with it! But hey that's just my opinion...

Brittany

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Dude, just smile and pass the zen margaritas...


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xALK3x
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i will probably be one of very few who frequent these boards to say this, but i do not consider the approval of the pill something to celebrate. yes, it will most likely make the entire process of aborting a child less stressful, but i dont agree with abortion in the first place. i think that women should be free to do what they choose with their bodies, but that is where it stops, with THEIR body. not the body of another human being, which is what a fetus is. there are tons of arguments to support abortion, and some are very good ones. i do not agree that say, a 15 year old girl living in poverty who became pregnant and who had no means of providing adequate care for her child should give birth and let the baby starve, but i cant agree with killing that child before it even has a chance to live and possibly thrive. for those situations, i try to think of the stance that Cardinal Bernadin took when people argued that the Catholic church vehemently opposes abortion, but does not care what kind of living conditions the child would be born into. he proposed the Seamless Garment Approach, which consists of upholding a consistent ethic of life. if we oppose abortion, and see that a child is born, we have to care for the needs of that child after it has entered the world, and not just stop at making sure it was delivered alive.

what turns me towards the pro life stance more then anything, is the fact some women decide to have abortions on the grounds that it would interfere with their lives, or that it would be inconvenient to have a child. that is something i cant understand. i know girls who have had abortions because they become pregnant at a young age, but they and their families had more then enough money to care for a child. true, it is very likely that they might end up dropping out of school, but it is not impossible to lead a successful life having had a baby in your teen years.

i would like to say that i myself have never had to make that decision, and i do know that because of this, its easier for me to say "no, abortion is wrong." i dont want to pass judgement on the character or morals of people who have had abortions. its not my right to judge anyone, especially if i havent experience what they went through. but for now, i couldnt deal with taking someone's life.


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Heather
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If you're going to start this debate (and I do hope you're aware it may probably get heated, so I just want to take a minute now and ask people participating in discussions of this nature to keep it as cool as possible), then I suppose what I'd ask you is what you think miscarriages are, and how that plays into this. How do things like not using a condom or practicing safer sex play into it? How about anything one person chooses to do that puts the lives of others at risk? These things take lives that have long since come into being (and lives on which others, children included, may depend), and yet that is rarely discussed.

I'd also like to ask you why it is kinder to effectively "kill" a child slowly by neglecting it, leaving it without the things it needs to be healthy on all levels and so forth than to simply eliminate a cellular construct that has yet to experience pain or have any semblance of a life at all. In my life, especially after years as a teacher, some of which were spent inner-city, I certainly value children. but I would have to say that I tend to value a quality of life far more than a heartbeat, or the genetic makeup that creates what we recognize as physical life.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 29 September 2000).]


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Beppie
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Well, I don't believe they're approved in Australia yet, and I hope that I never have to use one of them, but that's nifty news indeed.
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Heather
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It's funny, since you said something about not having to use them, how different this news is to me than it might have been five or ten years ago.

I'm at the stage in my life where my partner and I are ready to have kids, and we both want to. We're still using condoms, because right now we still want to wait a bit more ideally, but if I did get pregnant, I'd plan to carry it to term right now. In addition, the likliehood of me GETTING accidentally pregnant at this point in my life is so slim, that it's all become very abstract, which is odd. Having been through both a medical abortion (which I had because I wasn't ready at all, but then found out the pregnancy was ectopic and would have had to have had one anyway) and an herbal abortion, it's really important to me that this has happened, but in a way that is less personal than it would have been years ago. That make sense? It's a funny feeling.


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xALK3x
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i just wanted to say something that was on mind for a while. i've read other things about abortion on these boards. and i thought (and still do think) that the boards were a place that i could speak my mind (without purposely trying to offend others).

i'm not sure the exact correlation between miscarriages and the issue of abortion, or what exactly you wanted me to say about that. one is deliberate killing (and i'm also not sure why you put kill in quotations. the baby's life is ended, right?) and one is not. and as for safe sex, i'm totally for it. sex education, birth control, and condoms becoming accessible and available to everyone would keep tons of women who dont want to be, from getting pregnant in the first place. and i respect your argument that letting a child die slowly through terrible living conditions is just as bad as having it aborted, and thats why i talked about pro-lifers upholding a consistent ethic of life. if i want to actively speak out against abortion, then i have a responsibility to also contribute to causes that provide children with a better quality of life.

i'd also like to say that this site definitely, without a doubt, educates tons of people, and i totally respect that. i've learned so much that i didnt before, and the sexperts have more of a grasp on any and every topic about sexuality then most anyone. because you formed your opinions with lots of personal experience and research, i respect your views on the subject. this was just my own opinion, i dont wanna force it, just have it heard.


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Heather
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And Alk, I am more than willing and able to have it heard here, and I hope you feel you can express it. And I very much respect your stance on being active in quality of life issues in regards to being anti-abortion. Far too many people blow that off.

I put the term life in quotations, because as far as science and cultural thought are concerned, there is a great amount of debate at about what point in time that tissue becomes life -- it isn't black and white.

What I was suggesting in terms of safer sex is that in a lot of cases, not being responsible in a sitruation like that may also be deliberate killing, espcially when the lives it may take are in no debate whatsoever when it comes to their being lives.

Just stuff to think about. Again, though this site takes a pro-choice stance (and if I read you right, you do too), I am more than willing to have divergent viewpoints aired, I just want us to be sure (as I think you were) that a discussion like this is had without vitriol ending up all over the place.


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Hanne
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I think something which ought to be stressed here is that RU486 is not like aspirin, or a vitamin pill. It is not a drug that you just take, then *bang*, magically you're no longer pregnant.

Part of the anti-RU486 pressure has been from people who are convinced that having a pharmaceutical way of inducing an abortion will make it "cheap, fast, and easy" to have one. That drug may exist, but it isn't RU486. RU486 is not an instant process (it is a succession of drugs given over a period of approximately 3 weeks). It requires multiple doctor's visits (which are also multiple periods for the woman to have consultations with that doctor, and for that doctor to provide information and counseling to the woman). And it is not without its physical side effects, which may in some people be considerable.

I think that in our "pop a pill and make it better" culture, there is a misunderstanding about this -- RU486 is, yes, a pharmaceutically induced abortion. But it is not as simple, nor as easy, as just popping a pill and making an unwanted pregnancy go away. Because it is not that simple or that easy, I seriously doubt that RU 486 will actually *increase* the number of abortions being performed (it is also expected to cost about the same as a surgical abortion).

What RU486 does offer is the opportunity to have an abortion take place largely on one's own turf. As someone who has spent quite a lot of time doing clinic defense and escorting women in and out of women's health clinics through lines of hostile protesters, I can only say that I for one support a medication that allows a woman who has decided that she needs to abort a pregnancy to take that medication, and deal with her own mental processing and emotional fallout around terminating a pregnancy, in a safe space, rather than having to get through a gauntlet of people screaming, shouting, brandishing their fists, and sometimes spitting and swearing at her. I also support a medication which allows a woman to terminate a pregnancy without undergoing a surgical intervention. I see it as a humane thing that helps to return control of fertility to women's hands, even though there is still (and rightly so, these are powerful drugs) medical input and interaction.

In short, I see it as a good thing, a good option to have available. I also think that the very *best* option is cheap (or free!), easy-to-get, effective birth control on demand for anyone of any age who asks for it.

Contraception is, and will always remain, the first line of defense against unwanted pregnancies (which is why we preach it so strongly here at Scarleteen). Safe, legal contraception, and safe, legal abortions make a lot of difference to women's lives in countless ways, some of them literally a matter of life and death. I'm for them, and I'm all for putting more control and calmness on these things into women's hands.

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Hanne Blank
Co-Editor, Scarleteen

Start a Revolution -- Stop Hating Your Body!


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bettie
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Miz S, I found your questions regarding safer sex and how it affects other people's lives a very interesting one. I think people are quick to think of abortion as taking a "life" because it seems very directly connected to their own behavior. When things are not so obvious, people often do not consider the consequences of their actions or of their choices.

Many of our choices (especially in North America) come at the cost of other people's lives, the lives of other sentient beings and the quality of life of those I have just mentioned. However, we often do not consider these issues when we make our choices or if we do, we rationalize them away. This happens for a few reasons, one being that it is not directly in our faces. It is happening in another country, in a factory farm, in a medical lab. It is happening to a stranger, to someone we had sex with years ago and no longer are close to, to people we think have less rights then us. I am no saint, but I do try to think of these people, beings and situations when I make the most mundane of choices and the more serious ones as well.

Like you said there is great debate to when life begins both scientifically and culturally. That certainly can not be resolved in a forum like this one so I can't even take a guess at the one. I do feel comfortable saying that I am pro-choice and agree strongly with what both Miz S and Hanne have said in their last posts. The RU-486 pill is a safer option in many ways, but not an easier or less thoughtful one.


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Lady Moonlight
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Wow, I drop a piece of info, then my ISP software goes out of whack and I'm out of the loop... ~sigh~

Here are some of the things I find interesting about RU-486 (or whatever name it's now going by):

1. It can only be used in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. This means there's not a lot of space for denial, folks. Unfortunately denial, in the form of "but it won't happen to me" often seems to play a big part in pregnancy in the first place.

2. As Hanne pointed out, it's not as easy as taking an aspirin. However, if they actually allow it to be given in regular doctor's offices, it will allow a measure of privacy for the women involved that isn't possible in abortion clinics.

I'm just glad it's finally legal, because if surgical abortion is legal, there is no reason for RU-486 to be outlawed, especially if it's easier on a woman's body.


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Lady Moonlight
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On the issue of abortion vs. miscarriage:

This was taken up and then dropped, but it's an issue that interests me. Some time ago, I heard the statistic that something like 1/4 to 1/3 of human embryos spontaneously abort in the first trimester. (Maybe one you sexperts has more specific numbers?) In many cases, the woman involved didn't even know she was pregnant, she was just "late" or whatever.

My point is, nobody mourns these lost zygotes. Why not? If life really begins at conception, as many pro-life folks believe, then shouldn't we be having huge memorial services for all these "deaths." It could be, as Alk pointed out, that the difference lies in the intentional death vs. the happenstance death. But by that reasoning, the death of a child who catches a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting is less tragic than the child who is intentionally shot point-blank.

I fully agree with both Miz S and Alk that all children deserve to be loved and cared for, and that contraception is the best answer to the dilemma. But accidents happen, and at what point does a collection of cells become a child? Personally, I don't think this is a question we'll ever answer as a society. Instead, each of us has to make our own choices and try to respect those of others.


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unhappykoger
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i dont agree with this abortion pill. i dont think that it is a good idea to make it easier and less complicated to have an abortion. "live and let live"
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Heather
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You know, there was a time when it was, in fact, impossible to get a legal abortion in this country. Not only during that time were there no fewer abortions than there are now, many of the women who HAD illegal abortions either sufferred permanent physical damage or died. Needless to say, the fetus was terminated then, as well.

I think it's really important to again, be aware that RU-486 isn't an "easier" abortion when it comes to the cost or the procedure, and to be aware that the legality of abortion, overall, hasn't accounted for a rise in abortions. It has, however, accounted for a greater life span and better health for many women. It's easy to forget that in this day and age, but there are plenty of materials available in the library if you need a historical recap.

In a word, if you're pro-life, it's good to think about if you mean that for all life, or just for fetal tissue, because there is more than one life involved in every pregnancy. I'm happy to let the matter of abortion be debated here, but not the matter of choice. Our stand as a site is pro-choice, and it will stay that way. We'd be pretty darn mypocritical to give all of you this sort of information then tell you you had no real right to choose what was best for you.

(And by the way, I'm back. More on that in Updates.)


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Ron
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This has been and interesting discussion, everyone. I applaud the availability of another option that gives women greater choice, less stressful (safer?) than surgery. I firmly believe this is a choice each woman has to make herself and she should have total freedom and support to make it.

However, I appreciate the position expressed here on the pro-life stance. The lack of freedom and the necessity of having free choice has actually taken attention away from the moral issue of abortion. It is not a cut and dried case as some pro-choice people try to argue.

There is not, and cannot be a 'scientific' definition of when a fetus becomes a living human. All the debate on this, how many weeks,etc. is useless--it does not address the moral issue and it will never solve it.

Many religions consider a sentient being to be such from the time of conception. I am a buddhist and almost all buddhist schools believe this and that abortion is, therefore, taking a life. I have many Catholic friends. The actual position of the church is against abortion but they leave it as a personal choice, despite what some conservative priests say (including he Mexican clergy.)

I think the discussion has to start by recognizing that abortion is never morally neutral. It comes down to taking a life. I agree with MizScarlet, however that we must also put it in context. If we are going to take this reponsibility we have to be consistent and take responsibility for all our acts. It is morally wrong to bring a child into this world that we are unable to care for. (Many "prolifers" support capital punishment and oppose hand-gun control, for example--I think this is inconsistent).

To kill a fetus that is still only a cellular construct is killing, but it may be the moral ly correct decision in a given circumstance. Each women must decide.


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Pixie69
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I've read all the posts and I have to say I for one am very glad they've proceeded this way. Everyone is being very considerate and voicing their opinions without being rude or mean or anything like that. Yay for us!

So I have a question for people that are against abortion. Are you against all abortion? What about in cases of rape, incest, or where carrying the child to term could hurt the mother (I'm not positive but I'm sure that there is some case where it's been harmful)? In those cases do you think that the mothers should still carry to term? And I'm not trying to pick on anyone or try to make you wonder about your beliefs, I really am just curious about what your opinion is.

I'm pro-choice. I think that everyone should be able to choose what is right for themselves, because no one else can know what is right for you except for you. Because what may be right for you may not necessarily be right for someone else, which is why I think you should be able to have the choice.

Brittany

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I'm the good girl that everyone thinks is a bad girl pretending to be a good girl :D


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Dzuunmod
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More stuff about the reaction of the anti-abortion movement can be found at this address: http://www.iht.com/IHT/TODAY/FRI/IN/abort.2.html
I think this article will only be left up for a week.
(All that URL stuff is too complicated for now.)

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Altoid103
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Personally, I think that the abortion pill is a great idea. It gets the job done and it isn't as dangerous as a medical abortion. I am completely pro-choice about abortion. I think that it's the woman's decision whether she wants to have a child. It's better to not have a child at all then to have a child knowing that she can't take care of it and it won't have a very good quality of life. I don't think that it's right to get an abortion and if I get pregnant I probably wouldn't, but I don't think that the government has any right to outlaw abortion. It's a moral issue and everyone's morals are different. The government and the president can't impose their morals (which are probably based on religious beliefs) on people. That's why I hate George W. Bush so much! He wants to make abortion illegal.
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broken_wishbone
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Speaking of Dubya, do you think it'll be possible, in this day and age, for he and his new Supreme Court Justices to make abortion illegal again (if he becomes President)?

I am by all means pro-choice. Mainly because it's none of my business, or anybody else's, what a person does with their life unless it personally effects you. Unless I'm one of the parents of the child, I have no say in whether it's brought into the world or not. There are a thousand and one different reasons for being anti-choice, but when it comes down to it those reasons only determine whether you would have an abortion or not; they should not be the deciding factor in somebody else's pregnancy.

I found this site awhile ago when doing a report on Roe vs. Wade. It's really pretty neat. http://www.caral.org/roevwade/options.htm

Bye, kids.

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~*~I'd buy you lemonade right now, if you were here. Then I'd throw it in your face, and I'd listen to you cry.~*~


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