I enjoy the thrill of driving fast. Taking curves with the grace and velocity (well, almost) of NASCAR drivers is one of my weaknesses. I know, however, that if I were to whiz by a police car, on one such wild joyride, the fun would abruptly come to an end. This is because the prospect of paying the hefty fine with which the officer would surely levee against me is a no-fail fun-slayer. In fact, I find that the risks outweigh the benefits, so most of the time I concede to go the speed limit.
P.J. O’Rourke ‘There’s only one basic human right, the right to do as you dang well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.’
This concept applies to just about everything in life, including premarital sex. Whether practicing ‘safe’ sex or not, sexual activity, especially outside marriage is a risky and potentially stressful behavior.
Typically, people who engage in premarital sex are more likely to have multiple partners and be at a higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases as well as becoming likely candidates for abortions if pregnancies do occur. Without the support system a marriage provides, having a child is a daunting prospect, particularly for younger women.
Although, for some who have unplanned pregnancies, alternatives such as abortion and the ‘morning after pill’ seem to be the perfect solution. Recent events, however, may raise some issues with the abortion pill RU-486, otherwise known as the ‘morning after pill.’
Holly Marie Patterson died on September 17, a mere two weeks after her eighteenth birthday, and in her seventh week of pregnancy. She kept her condition a secret from everyone except her boyfriend and opted for the ‘easy way out.’ She chose to take the RU-486 abortion pill. Her death was attributed to massive septic shock as the result of an incomplete abortion.
Miss Patterson didn’t think about the risks, however, when she opted to abort her unborn child. Realistically, why would she? The drug is promoted as a safe and effective way to end pregnancy. It is taken orally and doesn’t involve surgery, which makes it a very attractive option, especially to a young girl who feels like she would be giving up her life by having a child.
Personally, I disagree with abortion. The distinction between abortion by surgery or through the use of an abortion drug is irrelevant to me. Put in Holly’s situation, I admit, I might feel tempted. That is, before hearing about Holly Patterson’s tragic death. Maybe, I was out of the loop, but I suspect the ill effects associated with ‘morning after pill’ are drastically underreported.
Here are some details about the pill that I think women ought to know. RU-486 was developed in France in the Eighties. The RU-486 method actually employs two synthetic hormones, rather than one, (with the generic names of mifepristone and misoprostol) to chemically induce abortions in women five-to-nine weeks pregnant.Some quick and dirty facts about the RU-486 abortion pill: Its cost varies between
$300 and $400, roughly the same price range as a surgical abortion. Clinical trials have shown the drug is effective in only 92 percent of cases. In the other 8 percent, women needed surgery to control heavy bleeding or to finish an incomplete abortion. RU-486 can be given only in the first 49 days after a woman’s last menstrual period.
There are several serious side effects associated with RU-486 abortions, including prolonged, severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain and death. A major World Health Organization (WHO) study documented the infection risk associated with RU-486 abortions: 30 percent of women who had incomplete RU-486 abortions developed pelvic/genital-tract infections. The reason for this high infection rate: One side effect of the RU-486 drug combination is immune-system suppression.
Long term effects of the drug have not yet been sufficiently studied, but there is reasonable suspicion to believe that RU-486 negatively affects future pregnancies as well, potentially inducing miscarriages or causing severe malformations in later children.RU-486 was approved by the FDA in 2000 for the termination of early pregnancy (defined as up to 49 days or less).The FDA’s mifepristone fact sheet explains that the agency ‘will approve a drug if it determines that the benefits exceed the risks for the approved use.’
My question is, where does one draw the line between the benefit versus risk ratio. Is there some magic number of deaths that, until crossed, ensures the drug’s value’ If so, I’d be interested to know how many lives it takes.
How many women need to die before the drug becomes dangerous’ Three, four, eighteen, one hundred’ For Holly’s friends and family, I’ll bet the answer is one. Holly died. Holly’s parents lost their eighteen year old daughter. A daughter they did not even know was pregnant. They also lost a grandchild who they will never meet and who will not have the opportunity to experience life.
Regardless of your personal stance on abortion, I would like to propose a challenge. Be informed. Make good choices. If you choose not to act responsibly then at least accept the consequences.
People who choose to speed know that they risk receiving a speeding ticket. Those who practice other risky behaviors also must face the repercussions of their actions. The RU-486 abortion drug is not a safe alternative. Abstinence is the only fail-safe way to avoid pregnancy.
If, however, a situation arises that presents abortion as an option, learn from Holly’s mistake. Think about who your choice could affect. Lean on friends and family to support you and give your loved ones the chance that Holly’s did not have.
If you would like more information about the RU-486 abortion pill please visit www.ru486.org.