The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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October 6, 2000 Issue
Editorial

Life loses again

FDA decision to legalize abortion drug was wrong, but sadly, not an unexpected one


By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

The Food and Drug Administration's decision -- virtually on the eve of Respect Life Sunday -- to allow widespread use of the French abortion drug, RU-486, is as tragic as it was predictable.

In a time when it's almost impossible to pass laws to ban the reprehensible partial-birth abortion, or to require parental consent for minors seeking an abortion, it's not surprising that our government would embrace one more way to end life in the womb.

Sadly, as at least one critic has observed, the decision to approve RU-486 -- which ends fetal life while causing health problems for some women who use it -- was made by an agency charged with protecting the public life and health.

There have been some interesting comments on the drug. One news report, for example, noted that the first of two RU-486 pills a pregnant woman takes "kills the embryo." That's a marked contrast to 20-30 years ago when proponents of abortion-on-demand denied that there was even life in the womb. A blob or a mass of tissues was how these proponents commonly referred to human life in the womb. Even last month, in testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, actress and TV star Mary Tyler Moore said human embryos "bear as much resemblance to a human being as a goldfish."

But several years ago, the argument for abortion-on-demand shifted from denying the existence of human life to arguing that it's an issue of rights. Thus, the argument goes, a woman can make whatever choices she wants and society be damned -- which makes an abortion drug only one more option.

In the meantime, Planned Parenthood is predicting that the cost of an abortion through RU-486 will be the same as for a surgical abortion -- about $450 -- which seems high for three office visits and two pills. But the abortion industry has long been accustomed to growing rich at others' expense.

One important difference between surgical abortion and RU-486 is that the drug will leave it to the woman to collect and dispose of her dead child. It's hard to say how that will affect women, but it will probably traumatize them more than ever. Again, don't expect the abortion industry to help them recover, since it denies that abortion has any psychological fall-out.

While it probably will be impossible to take RU-486 off the market now, we can hope for laws that would limit those who can prescribe it to only doctors who perform abortions.

As for now, the FDA gave us one more thing to pray for during Respect Life Month. As if we needed it.



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