Forum: New pill increases options for women

The recent approval of the RU-486, or morning-after pill, has George W. Bush and the rest of the anti-abortion camp in a frenzy. The Federal Drug Administration has finally allowed women access to a healthy, effective, safe, non-surgical means to make decisions about their bodies. The anti-choice Bush campaign cannot understand why the FDA would allow women to make such a choice.

Al Gore could tell you. He would explain why he has consistently supported a woman’s right to choose. Al Gore would say women should be entrusted to make their own decisions about their bodies with a minimum of government intervention. Al Gore would explain that he wants to make abortion and information about abortion safe and accessible to all women.

However, the debate over RU-486 should not be a debate about abortion. The fact is that abortion has been a constitutional right in this country since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. Noting that, RU-486 is nothing but another drug that will help prevent injury or death to thousands of women. Rather than risking an invasive surgical abortion, women will be able to have RU-486 prescribed by a doctor and be able to have an abortion in their own homes with the support of their friends and family. RU-486 allows women who live far away from abortion clinics to determine whether they want to continue their pregnancy.

And importantly, RU-486 protects women from the violence of radical anti-abortion groups. This fact seems trivial until one notes that Eric Rudolph, listed by the FBI as America’s most wanted fugitive, is sought in connection with the bombing of abortion clinics. This drug will reduce the risk to doctors who want to support women’s reproductive health rights but fear for their lives. This medical advancement is a victory for anyone who supports a free and open debate on abortion.

The fact is that approval of RU-486 is good policy. The approval of any drug which makes a medical procedure safer and more accessible should be lauded by all. This presidential election, however, will determine whether decisions in favor of women’s health will continue to be made. The next president could choose as many as three Supreme Court justices, which could make a significant impact on future decisions on the freedom of choice.

The Democractic team of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will continue to ensure that a woman will be able to choose whether to have an abortion, and whether that abortion will be surgical or by RU-486. Clearly, this is the best choice for America, and it is the best choice at the polls in November.

-The writer is a member of the GW College Democrats.

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