September 22, 1992 · Cavalier Daily

Doctors Explain Uses of RU 486; French Drug Adds Fuel to Fires of Abortion Controversy

Controversy springs up over the development of mifepristone, a pregnancy-terminating drug.


Cavalier Daily Sept 22, 1992 - Doctors Explain Uses of RU 486; French Drug Adds Fuel to Fires of Abortion Controversy.pdf
Robin Swanson
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Doctors Explain Uses of RU 486
When scientists at the French research company Roussel-Uclaf stumbled upon the pregnancy-terminating effects of mifepristone, they had no idea that what was soon to be dubbed RU 486 would become the center of a worldwide controversy on abortion.
•Geography and RU 486
While RU 486 has made headlines in the last few years, it was first discovered as a possible abortifacient in 1980 by researchers in France.
In October 1988, France became the first country to allow the drug to be distributed within its borders.
Although it soon appeared in Great Britain, the manufacturers declined to bring RU 486 into the United States because several anti-abortion groups threatened to boycott every product made by the French company, including those made by its subsidiaries.
Because there was not a “positive climate” for the distribution of the drug, Roussel-Uclaf decided against bringing it into the United States.
In June 1990, however, the National Organization for Women threatened to boycott the company if it did not make the drug available in the United States.
The US. Food and Drug Administration, with the last word, effectively banned the marketing of mifepristone in the United States.
• How RU is Administered
RU 486 is called the “abortion pill” and differs from birth control pills in significant ways.
Birth control pills are taken once daily throughout the month, after an initial doctor's examination.
For the abortion pill, a physician's supervision is necessary through out the process, according to the National Women's Health Network in Washington D.C.
According to the NWHN, the four-step abortion process with RU 486 is as follows:
1. A pregnancy is confirmed through a positive blood test or through an ultra-sound scan.
2. RU 486 is taken in the clinic under supervision of a doctor.
3. A return to a clinic is scheduled in 36 t0148 hours to receive prostaglandin (about 3 percent of women have a complete abortion before the prostaglandin).
4. A return to a clinic is scheduled for a final examination to ensure
• How RU 486 Works
RU 486 may act in two ways, depending on when it is administered. It may either prevent implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine lining or cause a more developed embryo to detach from the uterine wall.
RU 486 is chemically similar to the hormone progesterone. (Progesterone, known as the “pregnancy hormone,” sustains a pregnancy.) While RU 486 is similar chemically to progesterone, however, it counteracts progesterone's pregnancy-sustaining effects.
When progesterone is blocked by RU 486, the endometrium (uterine lining) erodes.
The embryo then either fails to implant in, or detaches from, the uterine wall, and is expelled along with the endometrial tissue.
• Potential Uses for RU 486
Roussel-Uclaf claims RU 486 has the potential to be used as a treatment for breast, cervical and prostate cancer, as well as treating fibroid cysts on the uterus and ironically, infertility.
Because RU 486 softens the lining of the uterus, it may also be used in the future as a form of pregnancy management to assist in giving birth, said David Nova, Roanoke Planned Parenthood public relations makers of RU 486, Roussel-Uclaf, also claim it can facilitate labor for still-born fetuses.
Doctors may also use the drug to aid in surgical abortions.
According to NWHN, RU 486 may also aid in treating Cushing's syndrome (a condition of excess cortisone production by the adrenal glands), glaucoma, breast cancer, brain cancer, endometriosis. diabetes and hypertension.
Groups opposed to abortion deny the drug has any other positive side effects.
First Right Treasurer Greg Johnson said the notion RU 486 may be used for any other purpose than abortion “is a ridiculous lie.
“That's something fabricated by the (abortion rights) groups to hit
emotional strings and bring the drug into this country,” he said.
Yet RU 486 has already been brought into the United States for non- abortion related reasons, Magazine said.
A man with a brain tumor was permitted to bring small quantities of the drug into the United States for his personal use.
“The Supreme Court ruled that a brain cancer patient could use” RU 486, Magazine said.
Original Format
Tags ,
Date Added June 29, 2015
Date Modifed April 19, 2018
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

Item Relations

This item has no relations.