Saturday, July 07, 2001

'Abortion pill' now available

By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The “abortion pill” that has been used in Europe for more than a decade is now available in Cincinnati.

        Called RU-486 in Europe, mifepristone is a drug that stops an early pregnancy. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September. The drug has been available for a few weeks at the Mount Auburn surgical center of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, said Sue Momeyer, chief executive officer of the agency. Ms. Momeyer said a number of patients at the surgical center had taken the drug, a two-dose sequence that induces miscarriage, successfully.

        The other seven Planned Parenthood facilities are not considering offering the pill, she said.

  Research the "abortion pill" and the abortion rights debate
        Abortion-rights groups say the availability of the drug is long overdue.

        “It has taken a long, long time, and I am glad that American women finally have this option open to them,” said Kathy Helmbock, spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women Cincinnati.

        Abortion opponents say the drug's side effects are risky and that threats of litigation will deter doctors from prescribing it. Side effects include bleeding, cramping, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal distress, Ms. Momeyer said.

        The procedure differs from surgical abortions in that it takes longer. With RU-486, the abortion takes two days or more and requires a minimum of two trips to a clinic.

        An abortion using RU-486 costs $550, about $100 more than a surgical abortion.


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