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Abortion Pill Essay, Research Paper

Analysis of the FDA Approved Abortion Pill

RU-486 now known as Mifepristone, the abortion pill, first entered the clinical trials in Geneva in 1981, and France approved the pill in 1988. Due to America?s political stance on abortion, the French manufacturer, Roussel-Uclaf, announced that the pill would not be distributed in the United States in fear of boycotts and threats.(Newsweek, ?The Abortion Pill?, pg29) A year after that President George Bush banned any imports of the pill in the U.S. Later in 1993 President Clinton lifted the ban, which allowed the non-profit Population Council, who was granted U.S. distribution rights by the French manufacturer to research the pill for its effectiveness and safety. After six years of strenuous researching, on September 28, 2000 the Food and Drug Administration gave its approval to Mifepristone. This was an important event in America?s battle on abortion, and was illustrated on the front cover Newsweek, CNN Health, and the New York Times.

Newsweek, a very reliable and resourceful magazine had a lengthy and descriptive article on the approval of Mifepristone, titled ?The Abortion Pill? by Pat Wingert and Heather Won Tesorieoro. The writers began their article with a woman explaining her experience of an unplanned pregnancy and how she had wished that the pills were available then. Then the writers explored the political side with Al Gore?s comment of how he welcomed the FDA?s decision and George W. Bush called the approval ?a mistake?. (Newsweek, ?The Abortion Pill?, pg 28) They told of the pill being introduced in Geneva in 1981 and being approved in 1988, but due to America?s constant battle on the issue of abortion it was not being offered in the United States just yet. Four years later, President Clinton lifted the ban that President George Bush had initiated, thus leaving the doors open for the non-profit, Population Council to research the pill in depth with the end result hopefully being approval by the FDA and made available in the United States. Since the distribution rights were given to the Population Council 10,000 women have participated in the FDA trials of Mifepristone. They then describe how the drug works. The doctor will give the patient, as long it is before 49 days from her last menstrual cycle, three Mifepristone which will block the progesterone, a natural hormone needed to sustain a pregnancy. 48 hours later she will take two dosages of another drug called Misoprostol, which causes contractions that lead to a miscarriage usually within four hours. Studies show that this procedure is 92-97% effective. They give colored illustration of the female reproductive system demonstrating how the pill works and the process in which it goes through, provided by Dunco Laboratories. They end their very informative article by stating that the pill will be offered in late October and already over 1,800 physicians that do not practice abortions have attended official training sessions, then purposing the question of the pill making abortions too accessible. Their sources included Richard Merrill, a former chief counsel for the FDA, Danco Laboratories, who will market Mifepristone and statistical from the FDA research, however some ratios and information did not have any indication of what source it came from. In my impression this article was strictly informative to the reader, gave the reader vital information on the process of the pill and the pro?s and con?s of the pill as well.

The next article dealing with the newly approved pill was found in CNNhealth.com. CNN, which is most know for providing the public with the most current up to date new had an article titled ?FDA Approves Abortion Pill,? written by Jessica Reaves on September 29, 2000. She starts her article by explaining the difference between the Morning After Pill, which you can take up to 72 hours of unprotected sex, versus Mifepristrone which can be taken 50 days after your last menstrual cycle. Then the writer gives quotes from the Pro-Choice side, which claimed it to be ?an advancement in women?s health,? and the Pro-Life said ?it was a sad day for women?. The history of the pill was given next, explaining how European women have had access to this pill for 12 years while it was inaccessible to women in America due to the threat of boycotts. After a couple of years the French manufacturer granted distribution rights to the Population Council, who researched the pill for 6 years then concluded that the pill was to be 92% successful. The writer ended her article with an astonishing figure of more than 2/3rd of the women who have had a previous abortion that took the pill, prefer the pill because it gave them more privacy and it did not require any invasive measures. This article was mearly a brief to make the public aware of the current standings on the issue of the pill, for it did not go in depth about the procedure, the pro?s or the con?s.

The last article was presented in this Sunday?s New York Times and was written by Gina Kolata, titled ?FDA Approves the Abortion Pill?. The article first explains the pill briefly and then explains that the new pill will not be limited to abortion clinics but will be available to family doctors, and obstetricians who will now be able to offer abortions outside of the normal specialized clinics. The article then discussed the issue of accessibility. Due to the fact that family doctors have access to the pill, there will be an abundance of abortions. Followed by a quote from Dr. Jane Henney, FDA commissioner, ?It was science in the form of persuasive data showing the drug is safe and effective and not politics that led to its approval.? The writer then describes that there are few restrictions on doctors prescribing the drug. They must determine the length of pregnancy to ensure that the pregnancy is not over 50 days and that each woman who takes the pill has access to a surgical clinic that can perform abortions if needed. The writer finishes the article with a quote from Ms. Feldt, President of Planned Parenthood, saying that ?Women like Mifepristrone because it allows them to have an abortion in a more natural state which gives them more privacy?. This article gave only a brief description of the issue just to let the public know of the current issue dealing with the pill.

Overall all three articles gave a good briefing of the issue. However, I do feel that Newsweek was the most informative and gave the reader good factual information, backed by solid sources, a diagram illustrating the process of the pill, and the results of the research and testing done by the Population Council. With Newsweek you received vital statistics and a good history of the pill. With the other two articles in CNNhealth and the New York Times, I got the impression it was merely a brief overview to make the general public aware. Both of the articles did not explain the process of the pill nor did it even mention the second pill which was an extremely important part of the process which actually causes the contractions to lead to the completion of the abortion. CNN did include the 92% success rate that coincided with Newsweek?s figure of 92-97% success rate. There were definite similarities in the history of the pill in all three articles. As I stated before Newsweek?s article was very informative, CNN?s article gave a brief overview which concentrated more on the Pro-Life and Choice views and opinions rather than explaining the pills process, and finally the New York Time?s was too, a brief overview of a large issue which gave good information, but concentrated more on the issue of accessibility of abortion. All three articles included the same information and did not differ in that information. The only thing would be that the other two articles lacked what Newsweek included.

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