Is the commonly prescribed abortion drug, RU-486, essentially any different than a Saturday Night Special firearm which is cheap, widely available, and, as Lynyrd Skynyrd put it, “…ain’t good for nothing, but put a man six feet in a hole.”
Gun control is not the topic of this post. Whether the Saturday Night Special is used for self-defense or during the commission of a crime is irrelevant. Instead, I’m using this argument to try to make some sense of the question–should RU-486 be legal or prohibited? Does it have any positive redeeming social qualities? Can it be used for any medical purpose other than inducing abortions? If so, what are they? Would it even exist if it wasn’t a low-cost, popular method of obtaining an abortion?
RU-486 (mifespristone, sold as Mifeprex) acts as an abortifacient by blocking the production of the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to the proper development of the pregnancy, both before and after implantation of the embryo in the uterus. It is not the same as so-called “birth control or morning after pills”, which are taken with the intention of preventing conception. Rather, RU-486 is not prescribed at all until the woman suspects she might be pregnant and visits her doctor, who confirms the pregnancy. In plain and simple terms, the drug does not prevent a pregnancy from happening, but used commonly in conjunction with misoprostol, it ends the pregnancy by killing the embryo and ejecting it from the womb.
Planned Parenthood extols it as a “safe, effective way” to terminate a pregnancy. The pro-abortion lobby presents it as an alternative to surgical abortions by basically promoting the idea that it is as easy as simply taking a pill. In reality, its use has some serious side effects. In the US, it must be prescribed by an FDA certified practitioner, but, as with everything else which has monetary value, it can be purchased online. (WARNING: This is illegal, potentially dangerous, and is not recommended nor encouraged.) I will not give any respectability to online vendors who market the drug by linking to their websites.
The question is this. Does RU-486 have any other medical use which would legitimize its continued manufacture and sale or should it be banned completely? From what I have been able to find while researching this, it has very few, very limited applications outside the abortion issue. For instance, it may be used in the treatment of Cushing’s Syndrome in people who have type 2 diabetes or are glucose intolerant. This condition is extremely rare so it seems to be a safe bet that RU-486 was developed and is being sold as a “one trick pony” exclusively to induce abortions.
Considering all this, it seems to me that the main difference between RU-486 and a “Saturday Night Special” gun is that, while they are both single purpose items, the gun at least can be used in self-defense. I’m sure it has been. For that reason alone, it can be considered to have some moral value and, in that sense, it should be considered no differently than any other firearm. Any weapon which stops violent aggression, whether it’s a stick or a bazooka, has validity and a proper place in society.
The use of RU-486, however, is blatantly aggressive. It is not used in self-defense, but is meant to deliberately kill an innocent, unborn, human being in a violent manner. It was developed, approved, manufactured, and sold as a quick, easy solution to an unwanted pregnancy. The end really does justify the means. Realistically, it can be argued that the woman herself pulls the trigger of this cheap, widely available “gun”, while aiming it at someone else–her defenseless, unborn child.
Should RU-486 be outlawed and prohibited? I believe so, with one exception, that it ought to be available in certain medical situations, where there is no possibility that an unborn child could be harmed. If this were put into practice, it is quite likely that the market for the drug would be so limited that the manufacturers would simply fold up shop and move on to something more lucrative. Almost certainly, though, it would probably be produced in generic form by some shadowy company somewhere and show up on the black market, available to anyone who has a credit card and connection to the internet.