October 10, 2000

The Food and Drug Administration's approval of RU-486 sent shock waves through the pro-life community and has provided an ongoing discussion of abortion for the last few weeks culminating in a heated exchange during the last week's presidential debates.

Critics rightly point out that we have opened a whole new chapter to abortion. In the past we have had surgical abortions. Now we will also have chemical abortions. And critics rightly point out that there are potential threats to the health of the mother in addition to two or three visits to the doctor and other associated costs and complications.

RU-486 is actually two drugs. Mifepristone (named RU-486 by the French company that developed it) begins a miscarriage in early pregnancy. Misoprostal is already marketed for other uses and completes a pill-induced abortion.

Two or three doctor visits are necessary as well as an ultrasound to confirm the timing of the pregnancy. There is long-drawn out pain in some cases, and complications that are so gross that I'm not even going to mention them in this commentary. And the cost doesn't seem to be any less than a surgical abortion. Doctors running clinical trials charged about $300. Only time will tell if that price decreases, but probably not.

So RU-486 doesn't seem to be the panacea that abortion providers thought that it would be. I have in my folder a Time magazine cover article from June 1993 with the title "The Pill That Changes Everything." Seven years later the optimistic hope for RU-486 seems dashed by the reality of its potential complications.

What an opportunity for crisis pregnancy centers to offer an alternative that will save the woman from complications and save her baby from death.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.