Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chemical reaction

world magazine ROE V. WADE | The drug RU486 gives women the option of abortion in privacy—a lonely, painful, devastating privacy | Alisa Harris

ANNEBICQUE BERNARD/CORBIS SYGMA

On a rainy fall Friday, the Planned Parenthood clinician gave Michele Stewart the first pill she needed to abort her seven-week pregnancy, patted her on the knee, and said, "Good luck!" Stewart had just spent two weeks—the loneliest of her life, she said—wavering on whether she should have the baby of a man who didn't want one, and she had finally decided to do what one sister advised: "Get rid of that."

Stewart chose RU486, the drug that induces abortion, because it seemed less scary than a surgical abortion with its suction machine. But the moment she swallowed that pill, she had second thoughts: "Everything in me wanted to push the pill back out."

Like Stewart, more women are choosing RU486 abortions. The number of drug-induced abortions at non-hospital facilities increased from 122,200 in 2001 to 161,000 in 2005. The drug works by inducing a miscarriage. Critics say that its appeal—that it lends itself to privacy—can take a destructive toll on women's psyches, as Stewart found. Full article.

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