RU486 Essay

This essay has a total of 1075 words and 6 pages.


Physiological and Psychological Effects of RU-486
are Less Severe than the Effects of Other Types of Abortions
RU-486, an abortion in a pill, medically called an abortifacient, was developed in France
by Rousell Uclaf. This procedure of abortion has less psychological pressure and its
physiological effects are also less severe than traditional surgical abortions. It can be
used only up to 49 days after a womenís last menstrual cycle, making women choose before
the embryo grows and develops. It also gives the woman, who is the sole decision maker, a
feeling of control over her situation.

RU-486, chemical name mifepristone, is an antagonist to progesterone. Progesterone, a
sex steroid, prepares the uterus for implantation and nurtures the egg. It plays the main
role in the establishment of pregnancy and maintaining pregnancy to term. It helps the
new embryo attach itself in the lining of the uterus, promotes development of the
placenta, relaxes the uterine muscle to decrease contractions, and firms the cervix,
preventing dilation.

Usually, when progesterone locks into the receptor all these biological processes happen,
but RU-486 an anti-progestin, blocks the use of progesterone, taking its place working
against implantation. With RU-486 taking the place of the progesterone the developing
placenta and embryo will detach from the uterine lining. Then there is an increased
contractility of the uterine muscle, softening dilation of cervix, and contractions that
will expel the embryo. In addition to the pills, one to two days after taking them you go
back to the doctor where he/she administers a shot or vaginal suppository of
prostaglandinís, substances in the body that act like hormones and as intermediates in
metabolic process, that make the uterus react more strongly. With this shot, expulsion
happens usually 3-4 hours later, making the RU-486 abortion happen faster and more
efficiently than without the shot.

In this process of abortion women experience heavy bleeding and cramps, like that of a bad
period. In RU-486 The Pill That Could End the Abortion Wars and Why American Women Donít
have it Yet, Lawrence Lader writes, "Most women have no pain at all," Dr. Elisabeth Aubeny
explains. In a multinational study of 251 women only 7.6 percent had enough pain to
require narcotics. In a British study of about 1,000 cases, Dr. Iam Z. Mackenzie, a
leading researcher at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, reported that 48 percent had no
pain, 29 percent had enough discomfort for aspirin, and 23 percent needed a painkiller
(57-58). In a study done on 2,115 women in France, fewer than 1 percent had heavy
bleeding and only one woman had to be given a blood transfusion (Lader 37). That seems
kind of small compared to surgical abortions where women always experience heavy bleeding
and cramping.

The other physiological benefits of taking these pills, are that it eliminates the use for
invasive abortions. That is entirely beneficial to women, "RU-486 is safer than a
surgical abortion because it avoids the hazards of anesthesia and the risk of perforating
the uterus" (Newsweek 61). RU-486 takes away the risk of scarring on a womanís uterus
and the risks of not being able to conceive again, because of it. Complications before
nine weeks are very rare with RU-486. "Of the first fifty thousand cases in France, the
two complications involved women over the age of thirty-five, where one was a heavy smoker
and the other under severe psychological stress" (Lader 57). In comparison to vacuum
abortion with a complication rate of 4-6 percent in the same time frame, RU-486 has
proven to be more safe and the only non-surgical way. Making abortion no longer harmful,
in a physiological aspect.

RU-486 also poses no threat to the fetus if the expulsion doesnít happen and the woman
decides to go through with the pregnancy. "Strictly speaking," concluded Professor Roger
Herron of the hospital of Paris, "there has been no case of malformed baby born to a
mother who has taken RU-486 during pregnancy" (Lader 38-39). It also causes no problems,
to women who have had an RU-486 abortion, in future pregnancies. Women are able to
conceive again, shortly after.

The psychological effects are less severe than surgical abortions because women feel they
have more control in the situation easing mental anguish. Janet Callum, associate
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