Tuesday, November 30, 2004

RU486- The Misconceptions…

‘The Morning After Pill’…a great idea in theory that even has the hesitant OK of many conservatives. You have sex and take the pill the next day…bam…no conception. That’s how it works right? Wrong.

RU486 has been in the news lately because of the FDA’s unusually rushed approval of the drug and the (4) American and (1) Canadian deaths that have resulted…along with reports of severe hemorrhaging, bacterial infections and possible need for blood transfusions.

Aside from these more well-known concerns, there may be some things about this little French-born pill that you didn’t know…

First and foremost this is NOT the ‘morning after pill’…the fabled ‘morning after pill’ is just a high dose of birth control pills that can be given the day after unprotected sex in an effort to prevent conception…RU486 (commonly mistaken for the aforementioned ‘remedy’) can only be taken for conformed pregnancies AFTER the fetus has attached to the uterine wall. It is given to ‘stimulate non-surgical abortion’ up until 9 weeks after conception –over two months pregnant.

RU486 is a steroid that suppresses progesterone –the hormone which feeds the uterine wall that eventually nourishes the child. Progesterone also stops the normal contractions that a uterus experiences when it is not pregnant. “The child, deprived of necessary nutrients, starves to death. The baby detaches and is swept out of the body along with the decayed uterine lining.” RU486 is also not a pill you pop and go home…it is given in conjunction with a prostaglandin (usually Cytotec) that induces strong uterine contractions….without this additional drug RU486’s ‘success rate’ is only 64 -85%. The typical scenario takes 3 -4 doctor visits over the span of two weeks…the 'expulsion' of the fetus can take up to two weeks. In more than 5% of attempts no abortion occurs…

This confusion by the American public over the difference between the ‘morning after pill’ and RU486 has never been clarified by the press nor by the pro-choice crowd… the general misconception (literally) seems to serve their purpose. As the number of doctors/nurses willing to perform abortions diminishes and the aversion to abortion grows among the public…this method has/will become more prevalent.

UNITED STATES:
Abortions per year: 1.37 Million
Abortions per day: Approximately 3,700
Who's having abortions (age)?
-52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25
-Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions
-Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.
Who's having abortions (race)?
-While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women.
-Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion -Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.
Who's having abortions (marital status)?
-64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women
-Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions
-Divorced women obtain 9.4%.
Who's having abortions (income)?
-Women with family incomes less than $15,000 obtain 28.7% of all abortions
-Women with family incomes between $15,000 and $29,999 obtain 19.5%
-Women with family incomes between $30,000 and $59,999 obtain 38.0%
-Women with family incomes over $60,000 obtain 13.8%.
Why women have abortions:
-1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest
-6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child.
-93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).
Likelihood of abortion:
An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.