A Simple Pill - RU486 approved!

I’m not sure if there is already an existing thread on this somewhere and I’m just missing it, if so, please point me to it and close this. Further, I’m not even sure again it’s necessarily a Great Debate, but given the subject matter, it may likely turn into one soon.

This morning, the front page of the Denver Post ran a story that RU486 has been approved by the FDA. RU486, the “abortion pill”, has the potential to dramatically change the way abortions are obtained (obviously).

In theory, won’t surgical abortion become nearly obsolete? I can now go to (hypothetically) my OBGYN and get a prescription to remedy a pregnancy. I’m aware that some follow through attention will be necessary, but is this the end of the “abortion clinic” as we have known it?

To be honest, I haven’t really sought out sites about RU486, I know it has potential for complications as does surgical abortion - are they less or greater?

Will RU486 become the “new” birth control.

What will the anti-choice/pro-life picketers picket as the abortion clinics all but fade into extinction.? (My prediction)

I seem to recall RU486 as having other applications - a treatment for heart disease? Please, again, if my facts are mixed up here, correct me. Will my insurance cover a prescription for my (hypothetical) heart medication even though I may use it to abort?

How soon before RU486 becomes widely available on the black market?

Does taking a simple pill lessen the stress of the decision to abort or make the choice “easier”? IMHO: I believe it does. Will abortion rates go up? Who will keep track? Who will know?

I believe it’s a major step forward for privacy as well as reproductive rights - others will find it horrorshow.

What say the other Dopers? Predictions? Speculations?
Additonal Facts?

How about the European Dopers? Any insights?

I thought that the RU486 pill wasn’t really an abortion pill but rather it kept the egg from getting fertilized. I also thought that you needed to take it within 72 hours or it wouldn’t work anyway. I dont see anything wrong with it personally, and if it’s safe that’s even better. but I still don’t think that you can take this pill even a month or two after becoming pregnate one would still have to goto a doctor.

The drug causes an abortion if taken within the first 49 days of pregnancy. Supposedly it’s 95% effective.

You are thinking of the “morning after pill”. THat has been available through PP now since at least the late '80’s. It does not prevent conception, it does prevent implantation of the embryo.

RU486 is the first drug of a three step process that aborts an existing pregnancy. RU486, Mifepristone, blocks progesterone (a hormone required to maintain pregnancy) which softens the uterin lining. This and the subsequent drugs would be obtained directly from your doctor. The second drug misoprostil, a prostoglandin, causes uterine contactions which ,in turn, expels the fetus. The third step is a follow up visit to the doctor to ensure successful expulsion of the fetus.

No, Ed, that’s a different pill, whose name I can’t remember. RU486 can be taken up to seven weeks after conception.

My prediction: Drugstores will be picketed and firebombed if they stock this drug. I’m not supporting that, I’m only predicting it.

Wow, three posts in 60 seconds. Does that set a record?

Commander Fortune: Thank you; I guess I won’t have to worry about my drugstore getting picketed.

Does that mean online retailers will finally get an edge in the marketplace? :slight_smile:
Ok, they could be cracked, but how many of these people who think that a 0-49 day old fetus is a full human being have the technical skills to crack an online retailer?

Just a bit of a nitpick here, but if it’s under 49 days old it’s not a fetus, it’s an embryo at most.


Your thinking of the Morning After pill which, IIRC, is really just a heavy dose of normal birth control pills.

RU-486 causes a woman to abort a pregnancy…literally.

RU-486 may not replace surgical abortions as it comes with it’s own hazards. On the whole surgical abortions are fairly safe. Problems can and do occur but statistically it’s a very small number. RU-486 can have other problems associated with it. It causes bleeding and contractions in the woman (this is essentially what causes the abortion). However, RU-486 thins the blood and some women may have excessive bleeding potentially leading to a critical situation.

Also, there’s the question of mental health for the woman. Some women are cavalier about their abortion and some are rocked to their core. Most, of course, fall somewhere in between but counseling to a greater or lesser degree is usually a good idea. If you get an abortion at a place like Planned Parenthood this counseling is standard, indeed mandatory and integral, to the whole process. Giving a woman a pill and sending her home may not be such a good idea. Planned Parenthood certainly would try to counsel her but not every OB-GYN could be counted on to do this.

The up-side for women seeking abortions is it makes such a thing much more available. IIRC only 14% of US counties have an abortion provider in them. If a woman lives very far from a clinic she may be unable to get the procedure. Now, that same woman can run to a drugstore and it’s done.

The clinics won’t fall by the wayside for at least a couple years, initially, only clinics who have “trained staff” for chemical abortion will be able to administer the drug.

Again - it is, literally, the doctor giving the woman a pill and sending her home with another to take later - no running to the drugstore.

You know, I was thinking that when writing, but felt too lazy to look online to see at what date an embryo became a fetus, and just decided to go with the sorta catch-all term that seems to be used in abortion debates on this board. :slight_smile:

Correcting an error in language isn’t nitpicking, I don’t think. I had originally typed it as embryo, and then went back and changed it to fetus since I wasn’t sure when the “status”? changes…

A link to CNN story.

Also- where I referred to “other applications” take out the “heart disease medicine” hypothetical and substitute for real purposes:
*Drug therapy for breast cancer as well as menengioma (CNS cancer)
*Drug therapy for endometriosis and fibroids
*Drug therapy for Cushings syndrome

Kyberneticist wrote:

Ooooh! Zing!

Stop by my church, I’ll introduce you to some of them.
The congregation includes, pharmacists, civil engineers, one of our founders, God rest his soul, was a nuclear physicist, and yes, we do have our share of computer geeks.

Not all people who believe that human life begins at conception are uneducated fundies who choose not to aquaint themselves with available science.


So far as I know the pill causes something similiar to a spontaneous abortion. From what I understand this isn’t a pleasant experience for most women. In fact there’s some risk of massive bleeding and hospitalization as with any miscarriage.


RU486 can only be taken within the first 7 weeks. Clinics won’t be shutting down.


Why would it be on the black market in the states if it is legal?

*Originally posted by agisofia *

Why sure we are…cuz there aint no rashional reason to be pro lyfe (oops…that would be anti choice) doncha know…wees jus bein led around by some releeeges frootcakes… :smiley:

It is going to be available in about four weeks, and will be administered directly through doctor’s offices.

Doctors who use mifepristone have to be able to assess gestational age and diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. (i.e., they have to have an ultrasound machine.) They also have to either be able to provide a surgical abortion to those whose pregnancies are not terminated by the drug, or get them to someone who does. At first, the drug was only going to be given to doctors who could perform the surgery themselves, which includes only about 5% of family doctors. (I’m not sure how many OB/GYNs–I do know that many of them never train to do abortions, though.)

What do I think? If I had a family practice right now, I would probably use it. The company is offering grants to train doctors who use the drug, and I would definitely want to do that. In the ultra-fundie area in which I’ll be practicing, it will probably cost me patients or get my office picketed (or bombed), but I don’t think that’s any reason to deny the procedure to my patients who want it.

Dr. J

Especially not for the specified 0-49 day range.
So far, the only defenses I’ve seen are religious, and one secular defense that was unable to offer a basis for its main point.

Yes, it was a deliberate zinger. I know otherwise intelligent people who can believe rather bizaare things. It doesn’t mean they are applying any rational basis to those particular beliefs.

There’s lots of “legal” drugs on the black market. In this case there may be a black market in the drug 'cause there may be some women who would not want to go to their doctors to get it (wouldn’t want to tell parents/husband) and there may be some males out there interested in causing a miscarriage (she wants to have the baby, he wants her to have an abortion).

Sorry. But there’s lots of nasty folks out there.

I’m missing something here. What does one’s beliefs about when life begins, have to do with knowledge about what certain chemicals will do when ingested?

Is it not possible to be very educated about available science, but still believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is therefore wrong?

I’m not trying to get into whether RU-486 should or should not be used. I’m just trying to figure out the if-then logic of your statement.