Msg # 410 Date: 30 Sep 91 11:55:59 To: All Subj: 1. NOW Article on RU 486 _ EID:6763 173e

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Msg # 410 Date: 30 Sep 91 11:55:59 From: William Bowles To: All Subj: 1. NOW Article on RU 486 ____________________________________________________________________________ EID:6763 173e5ee0 12:45 pm Sep 27, 1991 Source: Peacenet (Fido:250/222) igc:bcclark Conf:gen.women The following is the text of an article published in the September 1991 issue of _California NOW News_. RU-486: THE BATTLE RAGES ON By Kerry Flynn California NOW Staff The so-called ethical debate over RU-486 continues to rage as the factions of oppression remain successful in preventing the distribution of the French "abortion pill" within the United States. RU-486, developed in France by Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu and manufactured by the Roussel Uclaf Company, has created a maelstrom of controversy since it was first introduced in 1982. The breakthrough discovery of RU-486 offers hope for a day when abortion in the United States can be a safer, more dignified procedure and when it can prevent the deaths of almost 200,000 women in the Third World who perish from botched illegal abortions every year. But almost ten years after its development, RU-486 is being used only in France, though it was recently approved for use in England. Although anti-choice activists are in the minority, one particular organization headed by a small town midwestern preacher threatened to boycott products manufactured by Hoechst A.G., the parent company of Roussel Uclaf, if it released RU-486. According to the company's distribution rules, not only must abortion be legal, but "any nation seeking RU-486 must have a peaceful atmosphere." This is one of the reasons RU-486 is not available in this country, even for research purposes, although _Roe v. Wade_ continues to be the law of the land - for now. Molly Yard, President of the National Organization for Women, and Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation, met with officials for Roussel Uclaf and Hoechst A.G. in 1990 to urge import into the United States. But the powers that be within these two companies were more moved by the opposition to RU-486 than by any concern for the health and safety of millions of women. The biggest fear for critics of RU-486 is that the pill will make it "easier" for a woman to terminate a pregnancy. This assumes that abortions should not only be emotionally painful, but physically difficult as well - women should have to suffer punitive consequences for their "bad" behavior by being subjected to invasive surgical procedures. Such assumptions fail to consider the agony most women experience when deciding whether or not to have an abortion. However, using RU-486 will not be just a matter of "opening the medicine chest and gulping down a pill." RU-486 is administered during the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy, much earlier than a surgical abortion. It works to block the production of progesterone, a hormone that maintains pregnancy. Without progesterone, the lining of the uterine wall is sloughed off as in a normal menstrual cycle. As the lining is shed, the fertilized egg is discharged. However, this process takes several steps. After a pregnancy test is administered, and a woman decides to abort, the drug must be administered by her physician. At this point in the procedure, the success rate of RU-486 is only 82%, therefore the patient must return for another visit for an injection or suppository of prostaglandin for a fully effective abortion. She then must see her doctor one more time for a final examination . According to reports, thousands of French women are using RU-486. Spokespersons from the anti-choice movement claim that RU-486 causes complications and leads to death. By April 1991, there were reports that two women developed heart problems and one woman died as a result of the drug. As Dr. Baulieu has noted, while "one death is always one too many," it is important to realize that in each of these cases the women were over the age of 35 and heavy smokers. Since then, RU-486 has not been advised for patients who are in these risk groups. The two women who developed the heart problems have since recovered. RU-486 has a number of potentially important uses in addition to abortion. However, because of pressure from anti-choice organizations and the Bush Administration, the Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert, banning RU-486 from personal use and for research purposes. Prior to the ban in this country, the National Institutes of Health found that RU-486's anti- progestin properties seemed to block the stimulus for growth of cancerous breast tumors, endometriosis, and non-cancerous tumors in the brain. In high doses, RU-486 showed promise of arresting hormonal excesses associated with Cushing's syndrome, a disease of the adrenal gland, and it was also being studied as a treatment for glaucoma. Despite the resistance, the fight to get RU-486 into the United States continues. In California, a group of researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area are attempting to acquire the pill. The only abortion research on RU-486 that has actually taken place within the United States was conducted by Dr. David Grimes at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Under research protocols at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, hundreds of women took part in early trials from 1984 to 1990. Most of these volunteers had previously experienced a suction-curettage abortion. It was reported that RU-486 was "'two thousand times better and far less violent than the surgical alternative. Dr.Grimes has long been involved in abortion research and believes that abortion will always be with us. According to Grimes, "since abortion is a fundamental part of women's health care, our societal responsibility is to make it as safe, inexpensive and compassionate as possible." [CONTD. IN NEXT MSG.] --- Tabby 2.2 * Origin: NY On-Line "The Best of Peacenet" 718-852-2662 (1:278/607) SEEN-BY: 13/13 135/41 151/100 122 143 223 501 606 1000 1003 373/2 SEEN-BY: 374/1 14 15 3603/120 PATH: 278/607 3 109/25 396/1 13/13 151/1003 374/1 14 Msg # 411 Date: 30 Sep 91 11:56:09 From: William Bowles To: All Subj: 2. NOW Article on RU 486 ____________________________________________________________________________ EID:9887 173e5f00 12:45 pm Sep 27, 1991 [CONTD. FROM PREVIOUS MSG.] Lawrence Lader, the author of the recent book _RU-486: The Pill that Could End the Abortion Wars and Why American Women Don't Have It_ (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company), has pointed out that the World Health Organization had a contract with Roussel Uclaf for world wide testing of RU-486 and could have initiated new tests at numerous prestigious American medical schools. However, WHO opted to avoid a confrontation with the Bush Administration, which is rabidly anti-choice, and backed down fearing it would lose American money. For Dr. Grimes, the opposition to RU-486 reminds him "of the Roman Catholic Church's attempt to deny the Copernican revolution." In California, Assemblymember Jackie Speier (D-South San Francisco) has introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 40 to memorialize the President and Congress to support the availability of RU-486 for appropriate research, and possible use. The measure also urges the State Department of Health Services to use its statutory authority to approve the use of RU-486 in clinical practice and encourages all qualified investors, companies, and businesses which decide to test RU-486 to choose California as the site for clinical trials. AJR 40 is pending a final vote in the Senate with five days remaining in the legislative session. Speier has also authored Assembly Bill 2005, which requires the inclusion of women and minorities in medical studies conducted by state facilities, and it also encourages research on RU-486. On the national level, Representative Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has authored House Resolution 875 which calls for a repeal of the import alert put in place by the Bush Administration. Throughout the centuries, science has been a revolutionary force having a major effect upon the human condition. Although the anti- choice forces have been the "winners" so far, we shall see if they can continue to hold back medical research. Then we will know if 20th century science is indeed above "politics" and big business. Theories of conspiracy aside, it is also important to recognize that contraceptive development has been crippled in the United States because there has been very little commitment or money at the federal level for research. Only one U.S. company, Ortho Pharmaceutical, is still researching human reproduction and contraceptive use. In 1970 there were seven companies doing such research. Since the distribution of "The Pill" in the 1960's, only one innovative contraceptive, Norplant, has been developed and approved for use in this country. Anti-choice activists claim that women who have abortions are "irresponsible" and do not use contraceptives. However, contraceptives do not always work. In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute revealed that 51.3% of women who had abortions had been using a contraceptive method during the month in which they became pregnant. Probably, the anti-abortion movement will not be too moved by such a statistic. Sex, as they see it, is for procreation purposes between a male and female married couple only. Randall Terry, Executive Director of Operation Rescue (otherwise known as "Operation Oppress-You"), has stated that he doesn't think Christians should use birth control. "You consummate your marriage as often as you like Q and if you have babies, you have babies." The ban on RU-486 and the lack of advanced contraceptive research has nothing to do with ''unborn babies," but everything to do with the control and subjugation of women. The 1991-92 Supreme Court term will most likely bring an end to legal abortion as we know it in this country regardless of who is finally confirmed to fill the vacancy left by Thurgood Marshall's retirement from the bench. If _Roe v. Wade_ is overturned or further weakened, the prospects for getting RU-486 into the United States certainly won't be improved in the short term. In _Griswold v. Connecticut_, the Supreme Court "guaranteed" the right of married couples to use contraceptives based on a 14th amendment "right to privacy." In _Roe v. Wade_, that right was extended to include a woman's right to an abortion. Over the years we have celebrated these decisions and with good cause. Now, to be denied access to RU-486, more contraceptive choices, and a safe and legal abortion, means women will lose autonomy over their lives as productive human beings. Power is often merely a perception. We have to realize that we do have power and it is time for all women to claim this power. If abortion is to remain safe, legal and accessible throughout this country - we are the only ones that can make it happen. --- Tabby 2.2 * Origin: NY On-Line "The Best of Peacenet" 718-852-2662 (1:278/607) SEEN-BY: 13/13 135/41 151/100 122 143 223 501 606 1000 1003 373/2 SEEN-BY: 374/1 14 15 3603/120 PATH: 278/607 3 109/25 396/1 13/13 151/1003 374/1 14


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