RU-486: THE "ABORTION PILL"
[Many do not know of the extensive research facilities maintained
by the Vatican in areas like Physics, Astronomy, Medicine. Here is a
report from one of them...the report was sent by the Vatican to bishops'
conferences throughout the world, and calls RU-486, the so-called 'abortion
pill' currently available in France, "a new, serious threat to human life."
The report was developed at the Vatican's request by Gonzalo Herranz, a
Spanish bioethicist. A cover letter to bishops' conferences from Cardinal
Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family,
suggested that the report be used "to resist the introduction of the
abortion pill RU-486 into your country." Related to RU-486 and to new
terminology some use to characterize its non-surgical approach to abortion
is an intention "to amoralize and thereby place the transmission of human
life to an ethically neutral terrain and reduce it to pure biology," says
the report. The report discusses possible future uses of RU-486 as a
contraceptive, stating: "Women would no longer have to worry themselves
about whether they have conceived or not. Each month they would proceed to
clean out their uterus chemically." The report refers to RU-486 as "a
technical step forward in an area that did not need it." It says, "The
abortion pill favors a woman's privacy and secret, but it condemns her to
solitude." The English text from the Vatican follows.]
Bibliography: Baulieu. E.E. Ru0486 as an anti-progesterone
steroid. From receptor to contragestion and beyond. Journal of the
American Medical Association 1989; 262: 1808-14. Baulieu, E.E.
Contragestion and other clinical applications of RU-486, an anti-
progesterone at the receptor. Science 1989;245:1351-7. Healy, D.L.,
Fraser, H.M. The anti-progesterones are coming: menses induction, abortion
and labor? British Medical Journal 1985;290: 580-1.
1. The compound RU-486 is the first "abortion pill." Its use
raises some very serious moral and social as well as medical and scientific
problems. The product was developed in the laboratories of the French firm
Roussel Uclaf (from which its name derives). Its scientific name is
mifepristone, and in France it is sold under the trade name Mifegyne.
2. RU-486 is a synthetic steroid with very unique anti-hormonal
properties (anti-progesterone). It combines naturally at the receptor with
the progesterone present in the tissues upon which it acts, including the
endometrium, and annuls the action of the progesterone. Since the
continued action of this hormone - which is produced initially by the ovary
and later in great quantity by the placenta - is necessary (and from this
comes its name) to continue gestation, especially during the first
trimester, *administering RU-486 in a sufficient amount can cause early
abortion*. [* indicate italics in the original] This is its most well-
known action, but not its only one.
3. RU-486 has other effects. When administered following certain
patterns, it can act as a contraceptive. Also, when used in large doses it
has an anti-glucocorticoid effect which gives it a certain potential,
although it is not fully confirmed, in the treatment of some illnesses.
RU-486 as an Abortifacient
Bibliography: Birgerson, L., Odlind, V. Early pregnancy
termination with anti-progestins: a comparative clinical study of RU-486
given in two dose regimens and Epostane. FErtil Steril 1987; 48: 565-70.
Couzinet, B., Lestrat N., ULmann, A., Baulieu, E.E., Schaison, G.
Termination of early pregnancy by the progesterone antagonist RU-486
(mifepristone). New England Journal of Medicine 1986;315:1565-70.
Godefroid, R.J. RU-486. Journal of the American Medical Association
1990;263:948. Grimes, D.A., Mitchell, D.R., Shoupe, D., Lacarra, M. Early
abortion with a single dose of the anti-progestin RU-486. American Journal
of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1988;158:1307-12. Guillebaud, J. Medical
termination of pregnancy. British Medical Journal 1990;301:352-4. Rodger,
M.W., Baird, D.t. Induction of therapeutic abortion in early pregnancy
with mifepristone in combination with prostaglandin pessary. Lancet
1987;2:1415-18. Urquhart, D.R., Templeton, A.A. Mifepristone (RU-486) and
second-trimester termination. Lancet 1987;2:1405. World Health
Organization Task Force on Post-Ovulatory Methods for Fertility Regulation.
The use of mifepristone (RU-486) for cervical preparation in the first
trimester pregnancy termination by vacuum aspiration. British Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology 1990;97:260-6.
4. The principal use that has been made up until now of RU-486 and
its effect that has been studied the most is the induction of early
abortion. When RU-486 is used alone, the rate of success is too low. It
induces incomplete abortions in 15 percent of women when administered
within five weeks of amenorrhea. However, the rate of failure rises to
more than 60 percent when abortion is induced at nine weeks of amenorrhea.
5. RU-486 causes an increase in the uterus' sensitivity to other
abortion-inducing agents: prostaglandins. When RU-486 and a prostaglandin
are used together, the effectiveness grows markedly. A single dose of 600
milligrams of RU-486, followed a day and a half or two days after by an
injection of 0.25 milligram of sulprostone or a vaginal suppository of 1
milligram of gemeprost, will produce a complete abortion in most women.
This treatment, however, is accompanied by side effects of varying
importance: pain that requires analgesia during expulsion of the fetus,
hemorrhage which is on the average of 80 milliliters and lasts from one to
two weeks. New combinations of RU-486 with prostaglandins are being
studied and tested clinically in order to lessen these undesirable side
6. In France (figures from May 1990), induced abortions through
the combination of RU-486 and prostaglandin amounted to 45,000. In 1990,
nearly 1,000 a week were carried out, which means that this technique is
being applied in one out of every three or four abortions. The pregnancies
must be of less than seven weeks. Women are required to give their consent
to undergo a surgical abortion in the event that the treatment fails or
significant hemorrhages are produced. Abortion with RU-486 is subject to a
rather rigorous administrative and epidemiological regulation.
7. It is not easy to make an evaluation of the data concerning the
complications associated with abortion produced by RU-486 since such data
is presented with a certain bias due to the polarization of opinions that
is being expressed among gynecologists around the debate over
pharmacological abortion vs. surgical abortion. Some say that only two
cases have presented serious complications out of 30,000 abortions induced
by RU-486. Others rate serious complications at 5 per 1,000 cases.
Significant hemorrhage occurs in 10 percent of the women treated, out of
which one in 100 requires a transfusion. Among 5 percent-20 percent of
cases, the fetus is retained, and surgical evacuation is required.
8. The conclusions reached until now require that early abortion
with RU-486 always be done under medical control since frequent
complications are to be expected. Until now, these have hindered the free
commercialization of RU-486 and thus the possibility of "abortion at home."
The complications and the need for a post-abortion ultra-sound control to
verify if the abortion was complete are such that RU-486 cannot be used in
countries with poor human medical resources, contrary to the desires of
some who would see in it the ideal method for abortion in the Third World.
9. Pretreatment with RU-486 facilitates abortion in the second
trimester induced by the extra-amniotic infusion of prostaglandins in such
a way that a marked reduction is obtained both in the interval between
inducement and abortion as well in the total quantity of prostaglandin
10. As has been mentioned above in No. 7, there is a clash between
the supporters of surgical abortion and those in favor of pharmacological
abortion. This struggle does not exclusively refer to offering "a better
service" to women who wish to abort, but has to do with the struggle for
supremacy in the abortion industry. It has been said that RU-486
represents a technical step forward in an area that did not need it. The
complications from an abortion with RU-486 cause women to lose working
days, and they have to then go to the hospital. From the economic
viewpoint, even discounting the cost of RU-486, pharmacological abortion
does not seem to have any advantages over surgical abortion. Curiously, an
international, multicentric study sponsored by the World Health
Organization examined the way of combining RU-486 with surgical abortion
and has shown that RU-486 provides a good preparation of the neck of the
uterus for performing an abortion by aspiration.
RU-486: Could It Be Used As A Contraceptive?
Bibliography: Baird, D.T. An update on the use of anti-
gestagens in fertility control. British Journal of Family Planning
1990;15(supl):44-7. Baulieu, E.E. Contragestion and other clinical
applications of RU-486, an anti-progesterone at the receptor. Science
1989;245:1351-7. Lichenin, T., Heikinheimo, O., Laukkamaa, M., et al.
Inhibition of folliculogenesis and ovulationby the anti-progesterone RU-
486. FErtility and Sterility 1988;49:961-3. Nieman, L.K., Choate, T.M.,
Chrousos, R.N., et al. The progesterone antagonist RU-486. A potential
new contraceptive agent. New England Journal of Medicine 19878;316:187-91.
Van Santen, M.R., Haspeels, A.A. Interception III: postcoital luteal
contraception by an anti-progestin mifepristone (RU-486) in 62 women.
11. For the moment, the use of RU-486 as a contraceptive remains
in the realm of speculation. The necessary clinical experiments have not
been carried out yet for verifying and evaluating comparatively its
possible capacity as a contraceptive.
12. It seems that the systematic use of RU-486 as a "post-coital
contraceptive" or in harmony with the less traumatic designation as a
"menstrual inducer" or "monthly contraceptive in a single dose (month-after
pill)" must be discarded since it shows a priori an insufficient
theoretical efficacy (estimated 4 percent failure rate). In reality, the
mechanism of RU-486's action, which would be taken in the last four days of
the cycle, in these circumstances would not be contraceptive but anti-
implanting or very early abortifacient. In order to act like an efficient
monthly contraceptive pill (abortifacient), RU-486 would have to be
associated with an anti-hormone freer of gonadotropine or an oral
13. It would be possible to induce a luteal contraception through
the administration of RU-486 during the post-ovulatory, luteal phase of the
cycle. The alteration of the secretive activity and the vascular changes
in the endometrium caused by RU-486 would make implantation of the embryo
14. One application in which the promoters of RU-486 place gerat
hope would be the use of low dosages (to milligrams-25 milligrams) of
RU_486 during the days of the follicular, pre-ovulatory late phase in order
to cause suppression of ovulation. Apparently progesterone plays an
important role in determining the moment and the intensity of the peak of
the luteal hormone, which is decisive in inducing ovulation in a normal
cycle, a role which could be annulled by RU-486.
Psychological and Social Aspects
Bibliography: Coles, P. Volte-face on controversial French
abortion pill. Nature 1988;336:4. Coles, P. RU-486 under attack. Nature
1990;345:7. Ferrer, E. Las aventuras y desaventuras de una molecula
inhabitual: el RU-486. Jano 1988;35:2487-8. Halpern, S.M. RU-486: the
unpregnancy pill. Ms. magazine 1987 (April): 56-9.
15. Part of the psychological aspects that the use of RU-486
entails is mentioned later on in the section concerning questions about
name and definition. Here some others are mentioned.
16. Theintroduction of the "abortion pill" was greeted jubilantly
by the pro-abortion movements, by the international agencies for birth
control and by the feminist movements. In it is seen the promise of a
solution to many psychological and social problems.
17. For the pro-abortion groups of advanced countries, wehre
surgical abortion is safe, cheap and quick, RU-486 would guarantee a
greater ability to choose and, they assure with excessive optimism, the
opportunity of having an abortion in private. Those groups postulate that
if pharmacological abortion were to arrive at the desired 100 percent
effectiveness and 0 percent complications, it would be ocnveted into a
predominant form of aboriton - private, domestic, not medicalized and
economical - with obviouis effects on population control.
18. With purely wishful arguments, population controllers state
that the "abortion pill" will make abortion more accessible and safer in
developing countries and therefore will be very much in demand. It would
thus contribute to halting population growth and at the same time avoid a
great part of the alleged 100,000 to 200,000 deaths that those countries
pay yearly for unsafe or clandestine, surgical abortion. However, in the
current state of abortion by RU-486, it requires as much or more medical
support than surgical abortion, which makes the illusions fade about RU-486
as an easy means of population control.
19. Many groups of the feminist movement see in RU-486 the first
step for woman toward making herself truly the absolute mistress of her
reproductive capacity. Such groups proclaim the advent of a true
reproductive freedom that would arrive when a safe abortion pill were
available, freely dispensed, which the pharmacist gives without any medical
prescription. That pill, taken as a "menstrual inducer" or "menstrual
pill," would make all the guilt feelings disappear that are connected with
abortion. Women would no longer have to worry themselves about whether
they have conceived or not. Each month they would proceed to clean out
their uterus chemically without having to ask any help from the doctor. In
this way, women's absolute autonomy would be consecrated with regard to
reproductive processes. This is already considered as one of women's
rights. In fact, in November 1988, the French minister of health, Claude
Evian, in ordering Roussel Uclaf to resume distribution of RU-486, which
was suspended a few days before, stated nothing less than to be acting in
this way "in the interest of public health and to support the rights of
women." In doing this, Evian merely repeated the idea, expressed in a
document signed by more than 1,000 gynecologists attending a congress in
Rio de Janeiro stating that the recall of RU-486 was a "hammer blow to
20. Nonetheless, it is doubtful that abortion, including early and
deliberately inadvertent abortion, can be seen as free from any
psychological traumas. Even though its emotional impact may in some women
be less grave than that produced by surgical abortion, with its burden of
going to a clinic, undergoing anesthesia and feeling one's body invaded,
abortion at home is not free from tension and anxiety. It is the woman
herself who, all alone and urgently, takes on the whole psychological and
ethical burden of being the sole agent of abortion and hwo has to wait
anxiously for the effect of the treatment. Demedicalized abortion leaves
the woman abandoned to herself and in the uncomfortable company of fear,
pain and the risk of hemorrhage. The abortion pill favors a woman's
privacy and secret, but it condemns her to solitude.
Bibliography: Cherfas, J., Palca, J. Hormone antagonist with
broad potential. Science 1989;245:1322. REgelson, W., Loria, R., Kalimi,
M. Beyond "Abortion": RU-486 and the needs of the crisis constituency.
Journal of the American Medical Association 1990;264:1026-7.
21. In order to exploit the therapeutic possibilities of RU-486,
in some laboratories basic research is proceeding to study new aspects of
its interaction with different tissues and functions. Those who are
interested in selling RU-486 already know that form the viewpoint of social
psychology it would be good to find other clinical uses for the molecule
that will redeem it from its "bad reputation" of being an abortifacient and
contraceptive. It is both a symbolic and practical problem.
If, thanks to its clinical uses, RU_486 were to obtain a dignified
place among medicines, opposition to its use in situations that have
nothing to do with abortion and contraception would be both irresponsible
and malevolent behavior, for it would deprive many patients of the benefits
that RU-486 can provide them.
22. In fact, some clinical uses of RU-486 are already known now.
The usefulness of RU0486 has been observed in the following cases:
- Due to the anti-gluticocorticoid action of large doses of RU-
486, it has been used successfully in treating cases, especially in their
initial phase, of Cushing syndrome.
- A small number of cases of breast cancer. An exploratory test
showed clinicaland objective improvement in 18 percent of cases, positive
to hormonal receptors which were resistant to the standard treatment such
as hormones or chemotherapy.
- Some inoperable meningiomas that contain progestinic receptors.
The results are encouraging but based on limited samples. In a few cases,
RU-486 has shown itself to be superior to other hormones.
- As an aid in delivery in cases when cervical dilation is
- As a facilitator in surgical abortion during the second and
- The possible use ofRU-486 has been suggested in other clinical
situations, but only on very tenuous objective bases and in such a way that
at times there is the impression that such suggestions are based more on
wishful thinking than on firm data. This is the list of potential uses of
- Non-surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancy: Results up to now
have not been very encouraging.
- Treatment of endometriosis.
- Treatment of tumors that grow under the influence of cytosines,
whos production can be interrupted in vitro by RU-486.
- Modulation of the biological response to certain viral
- Local treatment (collyrium) of glaucoma. The first experiments
have been misleading.
- Local treatment of burns and wounds to avoid fibrous scars from
- Use as a contraceptive (as an anovulatory, in the follicular
phase - Finland. As a menstrual inducer - after-month pill. As an anti-
implanter, microdose in the luteal phase), as was pointed out above.
24. The pill is used legally only in France. The National
Consultative Committee of Ethics for Life Sciences and Health issued an
opinion at the end of 1987 favorable to the limited, closely-supervised use
of RU-486 in accord with the abortion law in force in France.
The World Health Organization is anxiously awaiting the moment it
can recommend RU-486 as a means of birth control. The review Nature has
made known that Roussel Uclaf has signed a contract with WHO to sell it the
product at cost. Logically, the major multinationals of abortion and
contraception (International Planned Parenthood Federation, U.S. Agency for
International Development and the Pathfinder, Ford and Rockefeller
Foundations) are very interested in this subject. There are reports that
the People's Republic of China, which has not adhered to the international
conventions on patents, is using RU-486. Recently, Austria has authorized
the use of RU-486. Apparently, the process is going forward of introducing
RU-486 into Sweden, the United Kingdom, Holland and other Scandinavian
countries. In Spain, the question was discussed in Parliament in the
autumn of 1990. The coinciding opposition of the Social Popular, Catalan
and center groups defeated the proposal, which was defended by left-wing
Bibliography: Allen, C.L., "Mysteries" of RU-486. Human Life
Revue 1990;16(1):70-9. Confederation Nationale des Associations Familiales
Catholiques. Dossier sur le RU-486. Medicine e Morale 1989;39:152-9.
Mirkes, R. RU-486, medical progress and wisdom. Ethics Medics
1990;15(3):1-2. DiPietro M., Sgreccia, E. La contragestazione ovvero
l'aborto nascosto. Medicina e Morale 1987;38:5-34.
25. Obviously, the circumstance in which procured abortion is
carried out, whether by a surgical procedure or a chemical agent, does not
modify substantially the moral grvity of the action. Consequently, the
thical and moral condemnation of abortion falls, integrally and without any
attenuating circumstances, on the abortion produced by RU-486, or any other
chemical compound capable of abortifacient action, with the appearance of
amedication that may be used in the future for the purpose of causing an
26. One must ask oneself, hwoever, about the thical attitudes of
the promoters of RU-486 and how they justify their commitment to placing
that product on the market. It is also interesting to weigh what the
effects of general acceptance and the use of the abortion drug would be
from the viewpoint of medical ethics.
Deliberate Confusion in Terminology
Bibliography: Anonymous. Mifepristone - Contragestive agent or
medical abortifacient? Lancet 1987;2:1308-10. Baulieu, E.E. Contragestion
and other clinical applications of RU-486, as anti-progesterone at the
receptor. Science 1989;245:1351-7. Baulieu, E.E. RU-486 as an anti-
progesterone steroid. From receptor to contragestion and beyond. Journal
of the American Medical Assoociation 1989;263:1808-14. Baulieu, E.E. RU-
486. Ibid., 1990;263:948. Brahams, D. The poscoital pill and
intrauterine device: Contraceptive or abortifacient? Lancet 1983;1:1039.
Cahill, L.S. "Abortion Pill" RU-486: Ethics, rhetoric and social practice.
Hastings Center Report 1987;17(5):5-8. Godefroid, R.J. RU-486. Journal
of the American Medical Association 1990:263:947.
27. It is well known tha the rapid infiltration, first of all, and
then the establishing as prevailing orthodoxy of ideas that clash head on
with the traditions of Christian society - and with Hippocratic ethics of
medicine - must make recourse to an able manipulationof ideas, which in
turn requires the use of tricky words. The crafty dulteration of
definitions (the "tactical redefinitions") and the introduction of padded
neologisms enable the atraumatic introduction of new attitudes and behavior
which, while being intrinsically perverse and held until that time as
repugnant or immoral behavior, are dresse dup with an appearance of
dignity, become fashionable and end up being asserted as norms of civil
ethics that must be complied with.
28. The entrance and spread in society of surgical abortion has
bene possible not only due to permissive legislation, but also to the self-
advertising technology of socially persuasive formulas, of sytagms that
dignify it and of expressions that sully those who are opposed to it. The
wicked and sinful nature of abortion is annulled when the fact of
destroying human life remains hidden under the veil of new and innocent
expressions which are both scientific, progressive, technical and tolerant
such as *micro-aspiration, menstural extraction, voluntary interruption of
gestation* or simply *intrruption, menstrual regulation, interception,
mensturla pill*. [Asterisks indicate italics in the original] It is
considered impolite and in bad taste to speak with regard to abortion about
killing, assassinating or destroying human beings, since that terminology
indicates that the values have not been grasped of individual autonomy, the
right to choose, progressive humanization, population control and ecology.
29. The introduction and dissemination of chmical abortion in
today's society also requires a terminology of its own. Baulieu
specifically coined the term "contragestion" in order to designate
tactically the abortion induced by RU-486. The new term is required for
two reasons: One is the advisablillity in dealing with RU-486 not to make
the slightest reference to abortion; the other is that of pointing out the
fact that the abortionpill does NOT constitute, because it *is*
abortifacient, a novelty in the field of birth control. Baulieu himself
"Many procedures used for fertility control are not contraceptive
in the common and accepted meaning of the term. This is the case of
intrauterine devices, hormonal contraception through gestagens and
postcoital contraception. In fact, interruption following fertilization
that would have to be considered abortifacient is something on the agenda.
On the other hand, practically all women have had or will have some
abortion (spontaneous) even though they do not realize it.... The idea of
abortion includes a violent and controversial connotation as if
collectively, consciously or not, we were only worried about whether
fertilization has tken place or not, and we forget bout the many stages
that must be made in order for a human being to develop. In consideration
of its globality and continuity, the process of generating lif and the
natural mechanisms of selection that determine it, the use of words with
regard to abortion such as *assassination* or *killing* only serve to
obscure the real terms of aproblem that has only to do with health. For
that reason, we hve proposed the term *contragestion*, a contraction of
*contra-gestation* in order to designate the majority of methods for
controlling fertility. It is hoped that the new term will serve to avoid
the discussion from degenerating."
30. The intention is obviously to amoralize and thereby place the
transmission of human life into an ethically neutral terrain and reduce it
to prue biology. Chemical abortion is disconnected from any moral
implication whatsoever. It is subject to civil laws that regulate the
practice of abortion adn the health policy of technical efficiency and
population control. Concern is also condemned as obsessive for the
anthropological and moral meaning of fertilization, which becomes a mere
step in a continuing biological process. Declared as perverse, or atleast
intentionally obscuring and in bad taste, is the use of expressions
regarding abortion such as *assassinate* or *kill* that are endowed with a
moral content. The term *contragestion*, which is a "tricky" contraction
in order to rob the semiological meaning form the origina contra-gestation,
is not only atraumatic but anesthetizing to the moral conscience, because
it does not cause an association of ideas with the process of transmitting
life and with the role that women play in it, but only the general
administration on these matters.
31. It is worthwhile to calla ttention to the impermeability toe
thical discussion which is typical of promoters of RU-486. One gets the
impression that the creation of the term *contragestion* confers a property
right on the ethical problems inherent in it. Some brief polemics int he
Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrate this. Godefoid
reproaches Baulieu for the laughability of his ethical evaluation regarding
ehcmical abortion by indicating that the tactical change in terminology
does not alter the moral substance of actions, and that it seems abusive to
call fertility control what ini reality is evicting a human being from the
uterus. Baulieu, in a very typical way that demonstrates the strategy of
insulting and scorning thsoe who dissent with his opinions, rebuffed
Godefroid who had used a "designed language, due to a profoundly
unscientific semantic manipulatin in order to provoke an a prior rejection
of the facts and ideas implied in the idea of contragestion." There is a
Spanish saying that goes like this: "The frying pan said to the pot, Move
over, you're dirtying me." No comment.
The Banalization of Abortion
Bibliography: Crowley Jr., W.F., Progesterone antagonims. Science
and Society. New England Journal of Medicine 1986;315:1607-8. Herranz,
G., El respeto, actitud etica fundamental de la Medicina. Pamplona,
Universidad de Navarra, 1985: 29.
32. Some years ago, in 1985, Herranz described in these words the
danger of banalizing abortion which the use of RU-486 entails:
"The significance of this type of abortion is extremely important.
It will establish as an admitted social fact that the human embryo is a
mere product of debris. Not only is the embryo made into a thing,
stripping it of all its human value; it is reduced to the negative
condition of an excrement. In the same way that a laxative is capable off
reeing asluggish colon of its fecal content, the new pill will enable the
gestating uterus to free itself from the embryo growing in it.
Disconnected from the mother through a clean mechanism of molecular
competition between anti-hormoens and hormones, and catapulted toward the
network of sewage systems thorugh the action of specific stimulators of the
yterine myosins, the embryo ends its existence in an unspectacular fashion.
The transmission of human life, man's cupreme capacity to co-create men,
that sharing in God's creative power, will be converted into a function of
the same physiological, psychological and moral level as micturition or
Harassment of the Pro-Life Mentality
Bibliography: Anonymous. French abortion pill reinstated. Lancet
1988;2:1153. Anonyumous. Mifepristone. Widening the choice for women.
Ibid. 1989;2:1112-3. Coles, P. Volte-face on controversial French abortion
pill. Nature 1988;2336;4. Corcos, M. RU-486: use mise a disposition
graduee. Presse Med 1989; 18:38. Dorozynski, A. Tempest in a pill box.
British Medical Journal 1988;297:1291-2. Dorozynski, A. Abortion at home.
33. All attempts to enlighten the public's conscience from a
Christian perspective, to clarify RU-486's characteristics and mode of
action and to denounce the manipulation of "contragestive" language will be
violently rejected by the scientific "estblishment" and the very powerful
family planning organizations. Whoever speaks out publicly against RU-486
will inevitably be insulted and reduced to silence. In the scientific
press, both in its sections containing news and comments and in research
articles, the attitude of moral denouncement of RU0486 is rejected after
having been qualified as an "aggressive threat, a manifestation of
fanaticism," of a backward mentality that "tries to intimidate researchers
not to explored the myriad of potential medical uses of the product" and
that threatens to boycott Roussel Uclaf and the powerful Hoechst so tha
they will stop producing RU-486, while the 1,000 gynecologists at the Rio
de Janeiro congress are parised who threatened to boycott the same
companies if theyw ere to stop producing RU-486. It is said that the
opponents of RU-486 use calumny and anonymous threats against the employees
of Roussel Uclaf Co. and their families, an action that has been condemned
as "scandalous and cowardly" by Claude Evian (French minister of health).
34. In contrast, there is constant praise for Baulieu's moral
courage and the directives of Roussel Uclaf to risk their serenity in order
to offer all the women of the world an advanced and safe procedure for
abortin without anyr isks to their health and of unlimited beneficial
capacity. For this mentality, no moral problem at all exists regarding
abortion. The ethical irrelevancy of theembryo is considered definitively
resolved, which has a moral rank no different form that of an intestinal
parasite or a tissue that is disposed of. All the ethical motivation of
the promoters is reduced to offering one more possibility so that women may
have access to as many options as possible, to icnrease the safety and
minimize the risks inherent in abortion and to alleviate its psychological
trauma. In fact, the protests against RU-486 are disqualified morally
because of the conscience-raising efect they may have on women. As Baulieu
"Every termination of pregnancy is a 'traumatic experience.' But
it will be even more traumatic due to the irrational and emotionallly
overcharged debate surrounding it. I hve proposed the term *contragestion*
not to try to hide the real function of RU-486, but rather to avoid the
fears and mental inhibitions that a charged terminology has introduced
35. Baulieu has clearly stated: "My intent is to eliminate the
word *abortion* because that word is as traumatic as the fact itself of
abortion." But words are the representation of ideas. Fundamentally, the
ideological plan that underlies the social establishment of pharmacological
abortion is to end the very notion of abortion. The midterm objective is
that it not be spoken of, tht in order to name it, new, innocent words be
used without any moral resonance. Those new, innocent words will have
taken the guilt from abortion, they will have made it morally neutral. The
medical appearance will change it subjectively into an action that promotes
health. In a short time, the regular use of the contragestive pill will
have banalized abortion, which will become, individually and eollectively,
under the influence of propaganda, a virtuous act of civility, of
demographic and socio-familial responsibility. In this way the process is
complete which J. Pieper had assigned to the manipulation of moral
language. Pieper said, "Why should not some diabolical linguistic laws
exist in a de-Christianized world in which what is good in that language
may appear to man as something ridiculous?" Now those same laws make a
crime appear as something praiseworthy, the death of the innocent as an act
of contragestive courage.
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