I was hoping the College Republican’s column in the Oct. 5 Hatchet would at least make me rethink my support of RU-486 (Drug will have little affect on abortion). Boy was I let down. The article did not make one factual statement against the drug except for the vague statement there are many side effects that go along with abortion, regardless of whether the procedure is surgical or chemical.
Yes this is true, and with regard to RU-486, the undesirable side effects are very well documented. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the unwanted side effects of RU-486 can include nausea, heavy bleeding and painful cramping. These, however, are only side effects not much different from the side effects experienced from common surgical operations and certain medicines. It is important to note that after a decade of critical examination, the FDA formally approved the use of RU-486 in the United States. I trust the professional and medical recommendation of the FDA with regards to RU-486. The FDA has apparently decided that RU-486 does not pose any serious threat to a woman’s health even taking into consideration the side effects of the drug.
The issues of whether doctors can handle the moral issues at hand and what effect RU-486 will have on surgical abortion procedures are also interesting topics. Contrary to the opinion of the Republican author, I believe that doctors will have no problem facing the moral issue. Many of the same doctors who perform abortions also deliver babies. They will do their job and they will do it well following the guidelines for usage of RU-486 and, at all times, looking out for the interest of their patients.
In the larger context of reproductive rights, there is a good chance that RU-486 may not reduce the amount of abortions because many abortions are performed at a time when this drug cannot be used. This however is not the issue. The issue is that of a woman’s reproductive rights. RU-486 increases women’s options with regard to preventing unwanted pregnancies and protecting their health. The U.S. government has also determined that it poses no serious risks to a woman’s health. Therefore there should be no problem with it. This is an issue of a woman’s right to decide what she does with her own body. It is a decision that should be left up to her, her family and her doctor. It is not a decision for the government or an HMO or the GOP or the Christian Coalition to make.
If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one. If you think RU-486 is unsafe or morally questionable, then don’t use it. But don’t tell a woman she can’t make decisions affecting her own body.
– The writer is assistant director for rapid response and campus awareness for the GW College Democrats.
This article appeared in the October 12, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.