I’m wondering when we changed the definition of “health care” to include women and girls self-aborting at home and flushing the remains of their babies down the toilet. Isn’t RU-486 just the modern version of the coat hanger?
The use, and misuse, of RU-486 is getting a lot of pro-abortion ink these days, as the Supreme Court seems poised to hear a case from Oklahoma that could limit the way doctors prescribe the abortion drugs.
When the FDA approved the use of RU-486 in this country in 2000, the protocol called for several office visits for women planning to abort their children through a medication abortion. The first pill was given the first day, and the pill that causes contractions was given on the second visit, two or three days later. But Planned Parenthood and other providers saw the opportunity for a greater financial dividend by allowing women to take the second set of medications alone at home after receiving the first dose from a doctor. Then along came telemedicine, which allowed doctors to dispense the deadly drugs via video conference, so doctors never once examined their abortion-bound patients. Seventeen states have since banned abortion by telemedicine, and that ban is included in the Oklahoma law now in dispute.
But it’s another portion of the law that pro-aborts are concentrating on in Oklahoma. The initial FDA approval allowed the use of the drugs through seven weeks of pregnancy but doctors have decided it’s effective through nine weeks. Also, FDA approval came with a set of instructions that indicated the second dose of medication was to be swallowed, but some abortionists are telling women it is more effective if allowed to dissolve in the mouth or used as a vaginal suppository. And now it has become standard practice to send women home to take the second dose (Less mess for the clinic workers). This “off-label” use of the drug is what the Supreme Court could rule on, if it ultimately hears the case.
This week, the pro-abortion writer Emily Bazelon and the editorial board of the DesMoines Register have become cheerleaders for off-label use of RU-486, pointing out, correctly, that many drugs have turned out to be effective for things other than their originally intended purpose. But history has shown that off-label use is not always a good thing. The sleep aid Thalidomide was not intended as a treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women, and not long after it began to be prescribed off-label, an epidemic of profound and tragic birth defects resulted. More recently, Neurontin, a drug approved for the treatment of epilepsy and nerve pain, began being prescribed to bipolar patients. The drug didn’t really help and for at two patients at least, may have played a role in their suicides. Pfizer, the drug’s maker, agreed to pay a $430 million settlement to end lawsuits against it.
RU-486 has proved itself to be deadly too. Several years after approving it, the FDA took notice that it was killing some women. New labeling warnings were issued that, according to the FDA website, “were prompted by reports of serious bacterial infection, bleeding, ectopic pregnancies that have ruptured, and death… The warnings point out that serious bacterial infection and sepsis may occur without the usual signs of infection, such as fever and tenderness on examination. The warnings also caution providers that prolonged, heavy bleeding may warrant surgical intervention.”
As we wait for the Supreme Court to rule on off-label uses for RU-486, let’s hear from some women who decided that an abortion at home was the best choice for them.
At About.com, on the Women’s Health message boards, a woman from England wrote:
“I would not recommend this to anyone. It was the most painful and traumatic experience I have ever had to go through. It was so painful and the whole process lasted about five hours and I felt like I was in labor. I was violently sick and this awful experience lives with me today. I would not recommend anyone to opt to have this done if you have the option.”
A teenager who posted at SteadyHealth.com had this to say:
“I’m 16 and I too had a medical abortion. The pain that I went through after dissolving the four tablets in my cheeks was crippling and crept on me only 20 minutes after leaving the clinic. I was crawled up (sic) in a ball and rolling around on the floor. I couldn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want to explain the pregnancy.”
Another post at SteadyHealth was from a woman in her 30s who had the abortion at home with her boyfriend, a nurse. She took the first pill at an unnamed Planned Parenthood clinic:
“Exactly 25 hours after the mifepristone, I took 4 pills of misoprostol (880 mg), the prostaglandin that would start the contractions. I let the pills dissolve with some candy next to my cheeks. The 800 mg is double the amount recommended by the FDA but I was not aware of this until I did some fact-checking on PP. They prescribe a higher amount due to some inabsorption due to throwing up the pills, and to guarantee the medical dosage is high enough to prevent partial or incomplete miscarriage. I did throw up 45 minutes after the pills went into my mouth, so I hoped I got the medicine I needed. I tried taking analgesics but also threw those up soon after, so I had no choice but to endure the pain.
“Pain: Worst pain ever. No joke, no exaggeration. Awful, terrible, unquitting, terror. I don’t want to scare everyone here, but this was my experience. Some women only experience mild cramping, mine was severe. It vacillated from a 6 on the pain scale to an 8.5, never going down below a 4. This was without a break, started 45 minutes after the pills and increased to a crescendo 2 hours in. I couldn’t walk or talk. Just whimper and lay next to the toilet. Taking turns throwing up, diarrhea, and just writhing in pain. My boyfriend was at a loss of how to help me. All I could think of is will this ever end? Please just stop so I can breathe for 3 seconds! I had no energy to cry, just try to curl up and hope this will go away. I couldn’t hold down the vicodin for longer than 15 minutes so I hardly got any relief from that. I was not really bleeding at all either so all the cramping felt meaningless.”
So this is where we are today. Pro-lifers who want abortion to end are the ones insisting that until that day, women should be protected from unscrupulous practitioners and dangerous procedures, like off-label use of RU-486, and pro-choicers are the ones insisting that access to abortion “on demand and without apology” is much more important than any woman’s life.
If you stop to think about it, you’ll see that abortion turns everything upside down — the First Amendment, the Hippocratic Oath, parental rights, even common sense. But we can’t just throw up our hands and learn to live with the modern version of the coat hanger, no matter what the Supreme Court ultimately says about RU-486. We have to get rid of abortion by documenting every single instance where it proves to be a bad product, and then we have to recall it. Pull it from the shelves.
If you agree with me that we need a nationwide abortion recall, please go to RecallAbortion.com and sign the petition.